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Museum education officer

Develops and delivers a museum's educational and learning programme to primary and secondary schools.

Job description

A museum education officer develops and delivers a museum's educational and learning programme to primary and secondary schools, either informally or based on the curriculum. They also work with colleges and some adult groups.

Museums, like the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), are committed to public access and learning. Their education officers develop, manage and deliver the museum’s strategy to attract families and informal learners to participate in a diverse, and engaging programme of events and activities.

Education officers can be involved in programmes both on-site and off-site. Off-site Programmes allow participants to experience exhibitions through encounters with secondary resources, which can be in a physically off-site location, such as a school, community centre or hospital. These ‘outreach’ programmes are designed to involve and inspire the community to take an interest in Ireland’s cultural heritage and the arts.

Work activities

  • Creating a welcome environment for visitors, conducive to learning, through quality customer service standards.
  • Planning and providing a range of regular, scheduled audience centred exhibitions and programmes.
  • Developing existing relationships with agencies in both the formal and informal education sectors.
  • Developing in-house contribution to education and outreach provision through collaboration between museum departments.
  • Exploring new initiatives in museum education through membership of professional bodies, attendance at conferences and visits to centres of excellence in museum education both national and international.
  • Meeting with both internal and external stakeholders on an annual basis to develop innovative projects.
  • Preparing and updating a range of worksheets and guided activities for visitors.
  • Developing and delivering outreach provision in partnership with other organisations.

Work conditions

Travel: can be part of the working day for those involved in outreach programmes.
Working hours: mainly daytime though can involve evenings/weekends.
Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: unlikely.

Typical employers

  • Museums
  • Galleries
  • Heritage centres.

Entry requirements

A university degree, usually at honours level, is essential for the majority of positions.

Specific degree subjects required

Open to graduates of all disciplines.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Art
  • Art history
  • Arts administration
  • Education
  • Event management
  • History.

Postgraduate study

Many (but by no means all) museums and galleries like to recruit staff with postgraduate museum-studies, arts administration or similar qualifications. The sector is becoming increasingly professionalised and there are now a number of postgraduate programmes available.

Training

The Irish Museums Association runs a programme of relevant training events to meet the needs of those working across the museum and cultural/heritage area throughout Ireland.

Tips for applications

Some museums run volunteer programmes or offer work placements so anyone interested in following this career should try to spend secure one. Some curators may be required to travel, so a driving licence can be useful. Experience in public relations would be an advantage.

Skills and qualities

  • Strong interest in and knowledge of historical and cultural artefacts.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent organisation, project management and presentation skills.
  • Knowledge of fund raising for cultural projects.
  • Ability to work with museum databases and IT.
  • Ability to work well as part of a team.
  • Excellent research skills.