Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is anyone out there?

We haven't posted on this blog in forever! For a lot of us out in museum-land our jobs have changed and our museums have changed significantly as a result of the economic downturn. Jobs have been cut, department budgets slashed, raises reduced or eliminated and in some extreme cases museums have closed.

Have you fallen victim to any of these? How are you coping? What have you changed about your career or how you do your job?

My brother asked me last week if I was pigeon-holed in my career and if I had options for careers outside of the museum? I've been thinking a great deal about that and it's hard for me to imagine myself in a non-museum setting. Has anyone transistioned to another field and found happiness or fulfillment?

Would love to hear from anyone out there and get this blog back on track. When times are tough like these we need to network and learn from each other now more than ever!


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I unfortunately was let go from my previous job as a Curator and Educator at the end of January becuase of budget cuts. I graduated in 2008 with a Masters in Museum Studies and a B.A. in Art History. I was lucky that I was hired right out of school and started to work for a local history museum. The thing that I have always loved about working in a museum is that not everyday is the same. However, when the city was evaluating their budget they were evaluating ours as well. The city wanted to cut $250,000 of the museums budget and me being the most recently hired was let go on a Friday at 5:00. I had no clue and I was very upset but I took it all in stride.
Since then I have applied for many jobs some for museum positions and others that were for non-museum positions. I've found that by working in a museum setting one becomes a jack of all trades and that's made me a diverse applicant.
But, I am still unemployed and that's in part to the fact that Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates. Though I've had a few very successful interviews something always seems to go wrong on their end and I am left without a job. What I've found out though is that many have found my work experience interesting and that's what made them call me.
Though I'm coming on almost a year of being unemployed and I'm getting frustrated. My boyfriend tells me not to and that I will find something. Thats the hard thing just doing "something" it inst what I want to be doing. I want to use my education, my past work experience and work in a museum. Even though I want to be positive It doesn't seem like I will be finding a job any time soon.
With recently reading articles in the paper or online describing just how hard museums have been hit by the economy. Specifically, how grants have been cut, city budgets being cut, donors not giving as much and a not as many visitors. It's looking like museums wont be rebounding anytime soon.
I am hoping that something will come my way and for those who are also looking for a new job I hope you find something soon as well...

academic poser said...

I've enjoyed following the blog. Nice to see a new posting. I am currently in grad school and hoping to work my way into museum work someday but also trying to keep my options open. Thanks for the recent post, this is a great place for such dialog.

Jenna said...

I'm a student at the Cooperstown Graduate Program, and this is an issue that we talk about every single day. I'm lucky as a first year, hopefully in 2011 when I graduate the economy will be a little better, but the second years are very nervous about job prospects. I have been considering going into education, but am concerned by the decreasing numbers of school groups visiting museums. One of my roommates ideally wants to enter into costumes and textiles, but more according to a professional in the field it is one of the first department to get cut. It will be very, very interesting to see what happens during the next few years. Thanks for posting, keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Please keep writing... it gives me hope. :)

Pam Schwartz said...

Out of college I took a seasonal position as a Docent/Preservationist at a Frank Lloyd Wright Home. The season ended in November and now I'm on the search for a job again. This seems an almost impossible process. I'm only a year out of school but many replies from applications are stating 350 other people applied for the same position, all with masters and 20 years experience on me. It helps to know others are struggling as well.

Monica said...

Really a good one!

Lemont Dobson said...

Hello, Yeah some are still here. I recently left my position as a Director. It was my first senior post. Lots of reasons, but stress of piloting a museum through this crisis was one of them. I think the evolutionary process is at work here in museum land. We need to be smart and adapt out product (ugly word but true) i.e., our museums and our careers. One difficulty we have is that we are selling a 17th century sensory experience to the video game generation... I'm not saying it isn't a worthy pursuit, but we have to rethink how we sell ourselves and our relevance.

Anonymous said...

I'm a recent grad with a BA in history and, after doing a PR internship (they had a job freeze due to the economy), I left and started interning for a museum for almost a year and worked part-time on the side. It was tough, but it gave me an in and I got a job with the museum. The job is temporary (3years) since I am working on a special project but it's giving me a ton of experience. The economy is still bad though so I'm very careful about getting as much experience as I can, networking as much as possible and keeping my eye on job postings. The best advice I can give to new grads is to make a good impression during your internships. It's easier for museums to hire someone they know is reliable.