Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

9. Functional, organisational matters of museums

“Museums are very special companies, whose primary product – the cultural growth of the community through identification with its own cultural heritage – is difficult to quantify. And so, to enable economic assessment, we tend to consider the secondary products: entry fees, the sale of products linked to the image of the museum, the sale of services to the public. This has led us to consider the structural organization of museums and their staff in the same terms as a manufacturing company, i.e. with the view to optimizing the profitability of these secondary products. We have failed to analyse the aspects of museums’ international organization and the characteristics of their staff which guarantee the production and spreading of their primary product: the intellectual organization of museums and the professionalism of museum operations in the scientific and cultural field.” [1]



The backbone and organizational structure of modern museums in the 21st century has to be a thoroughly trained staff capable of meeting various kinds of challenges. Above all they have to be able to straddle demands made upon museums to perform in various ways to meet expectations and ethical codes. If all these different challenges, demands, needs and problems are not resolved, museum may well end up if not in an identity crisis, then in a maze of confusion and loss of realities.

Clearly the single biggest danger is a solely money driven development towards ever bigger block buster types of exhibitions. They have become on the international museum circuit the equivalent of sensational spectacles. By now this tendency deviates too much from the classical role museums have to play. As a result ever more sensational buildings make the content inside appear irrelevant as the building itself is the sole message e.g. Bilbao.

As Carol Becker stated at the museums’ workshop held in Volos, June 13 – 15, 2005, Chicago Art Institute with a separate museum is inclined to follow that trend. She sees how the trustees on the board are want to have a new architectural wing attached to the museum for $300 Million as if solely obsessed by a money driven campaign. The efforts undertaken to obtain the necessary funds for the new wing deprive all other areas of the museum and of the entire institution of important financial means.

There is even at risk that museums get entangled in possible money laundering operations but as this is not a prime concern of this study, assessment thereof shall be limited to the financial impacts of these operations. They do reflect a global tendency with impact upon the staff. In the end it can mean loss of professionality to a degree that public relations efforts supersede the need to preserve collections. Once a museum succumbs due to specific management methods to mere marketing and image making strategies, there is at risk both the museum’s uniqueness and ability to deliver substantial messages.

Giovanni Pinna outlined in his paper for the presentation at the HERMES Symposium in Krakow that the intellectual organization of museums in future is at risk. He stresses the need to retain the uniqueness of museum best done by not entering too much in an overt way with other museums. He is, therefore, against the idea of networking museums as if this is a highly competitive market. Rather he believes that the integrity of director goes together with a staff with very specialized knowledge so that together it enables everyone full appreciation of the collection. If that is guaranteed, then the museum as a whole can enter its own creative process of interpreting the cultural heritage at hand in the collection.

Functional matters:

What role does and should play the museum in modern society? If we look at the criticism leveled against museums in the past, its outstanding feature being the building housing ‘imperial collections’ – bounty from war, conquest, colonization – all to prove the superiority of the West, then this has become a point of departure for modern museums attempting to adapt to changed environment in terms of economies, international relationships and outlook of mankind in the twenty first century.

The term ‘museum landscape’ and ‘museum sector’ are used to designate a special setting and function in terms of society and economy. There is mentioned as well the link of the museum to the community when functional matters become subject of discussion e.g. can museums help retain local identity, mediate between different cultural identities and thereby uphold ‘cultural diversity’.

In the past museums functioned as fortitudes of cultural achievements. Often they were housed in monumental buildings with imitation of the Classics linked to Ancient Greece as sign of highest cultural achievements and hence birthplace of Western Civilization.[2]

If buildings like the British Museum or the German Museum in Munich leave an impression upon the visitor, then because of a sober grey stone being used in a massive way. The heaviness of culture is underlined by the weight it has upon future development as if without it the entire development would miss something. Naturally this has changed with the British Museum attempting to shed the traditional imprint by renovating the building and making it more visitor friendly, equally more accessible.

Moreover, and especially after Guggenheim in Bilbao, all museums have come under increasing pressure that the museum building itself has to be an artwork by itself.

Still there are other cases where building and content somehow relate and at the same time do not. For instance, the Imperial War Museum is housed in a former psychiatric hospital while the staff recruits itself from former war veterans and loyal civil servants. Both contribute to an inflexibility to change. A director attempted to reform that museum but after only nine months on the job she decided to quit because the staff would not implement any of her proposed changes.

Indeed the use of old buildings having in the past another functional purpose is controversial as is the imitation of the Classical era. While the building is supposed to give an aura of cultural significance, it leaves modern museum organizations short handed in how to deal with a changed public coming to museums. They expect simply to be attracted by a different set of parameters and do not wish to view cultural heritage as if something outsourced from a society that does not really care about the special relationship it has to this specific form and content.

Naturally changes come with the growth of tourism and cultural tourism (especially along thematic lines). It requires of museums to play an important and distinctive service role in that sector. They face a dilemma for indeed, what to do, when the tourists outnumber often by far the normal local visitors but museum policy dictates as much national, regional and local considerations as museums risk becoming mere show cases of local, regional and national cultures? Museums must find a way to combine fostering collections and exhibitions reflective of the nearby communities while aspiring to attain international reputation and to enter a growing network of inter-museum practices (sending own collections on tour while receiving others).

For instance, the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow has 18 temporary exhibitions a year in order to retain its attractiveness to the outside world but it is forced to do so with an oversized staff that has been working for the museum by now for over than 15 years. That burdens the museum as it has too little resources to take care of its extensive collections consisting mainly of traditional peasant houses and artifacts not easily to be constructed once dismantled. The upkeep of such a collection has its own intrinsic value but to organizational need has changed towards the functional embodiment of the collection in ongoing, very modern activities related to universities and schools for educational and research purposes, to visitors and to the museum community abroad. Practically the museum has entered its own identity crisis due to not managing well this transition for the era before 1989 when all funds came from the Ministry of Culture with the prime demand that the museum is to remain accessible to the worker or socialist personality of culture while in the new era innovation and technical changes mean also the need to adopt new management methods without knowing how to sustain the museum as a whole. As Andrej Rataj, Ethnographic Museum Krakow would state “nowadays the museum is comprised of many workers who do not even know each other and who do not necessarily share the same vision of what is the role of the museum in modern society.” [3]

As a result of these changes, the shift has been noticeable away from research and specialized work on collections and towards education and entertainment with gift shops, restaurants and other conveniences as part of museum services demanding quite another type of staff being employed and trained to come to terms with these new demands.

Once other things are just as important or even more so the presentation of the collections themselves will suffer and only realized under very specific viewpoints with the tendency towards the creation of bluck-boster types of exhibitions a clear indication of a certain trend.

While museums strive to make ‘experiences’ within their sacred halls and spaces lasting, the best way to tell the success of a museum is whether or not people mingle and prefer to spend an entire day inside cool rooms keeping out the hustle and bustle of modern city life. In that sense museums are like places of refuge in cities unable to handle the flow of tourism in an individual way.

Education and learning extended by the museum in order to root individuals in the knowledge of their own history as well as link with other places.

Organisational matters:

Organization of the museum is about mediation between staff and the museum’s culture so that each person knows his or her own role. According to Giovanni Pinna this requires at the head of the museum a person capable of carrying out such a task. The usual organisational structure can be depicted as follows:



Board of trustees

Depending on size of museum

In some cases single person

Scope, function and organizational potentiality for future growth



Strategic and external partners

Museums meet standards of organization only “if the management of a museum is in the hands of someone who is a scientific and cultural authority and is recognized as such by all of museum’s intellectual staff. Only a director of great intellectual and scientific caliber is capable of the cultural mediation necessary to create a museum culture. Managerial or administrative managements, detached from the intellectual reality of the museum and not recognized on a scientific level, would be unable, not only to carry out any mediation and cultural construction, but to identify the internal cultures of the museum to mediate between. The tendency to take management away from figures of scientific authority, to whom museums traditionally have always been entrusted, at least in Europe, and to place at the helm administrative staff or managerial figures, pleading the need for management which guarantees greater cost saving, can only be seen as the reduction or possible elimination of the cultural functions of museums, while the failure to develop an autonomous original museum culture may open up the doors to historical and political manipulation.” [4]

Since one can learn a lot out of job descriptions when museums are out to hire staff and key people, it is worthwhile to scan some of these vacancy announcements. Often this information is provided by H-MUSEUM

H-Net Network for Museums and Museum Studies

E-Mail: h-museum@h-net.msu.edu

WWW: http://www.h-museum.net

Example 1: Director

For instance the city of Essen, future cultural capital city of Germany, was looking for a director to manage the Museum Folkwang. The decision was due 01. February 2006 with a contract for 8 years.

The museum describes itself as an establishment with international reputation and belongs to the significant museums of classical modern with collections at the highest level as well in archaeology, arts and crafts and photography.

The tasks of the director include aside from personnel and organisational responsibilities for the museum Folkwang and the additional German Poster Museum as well

A special challenge exists in planning the spatial dimensions anew and the organisational new structuring of the museum’s landscape of Essen. It is to be expected that the museum’s director participates actively in this process.

For this position an outstanding personality is needed with the required qualifications to direct a museum and to take on all the demanding tasks involved in developing things further.

Aside from leadership and management experiences there is needed a high degree of communication competence. There are also needed experiences in restructuring museum buildings and spaces. [5]

In some museums the stress is upon the interaction between director and Board of Trustees as illustrated, for example, by this vacancy announcement:

From: Jennifer Kelly
Subject: Vacancy Announcement: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Illinois)
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 14:31:12 -0400

The Board of Trustees announces a search for the Director of the Graham
Foundation with following responsibilities:

It goes on to stipulate that the director will report to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis and keep it informed of activities at the Foundation. Hence such a direction must have the following qualification:

The candidate must hold a terminal or professional degree related to architecture or architectural history and a distinguished record of accomplishments. Additionally, he/she must possess the vitality and intellectual capacity to evaluate the diverse nature of architecture today and assume a leadership position in that arena.

This is a full-time position and will require residency in Chicago.

For historical background of the Foundation see http://www.grahamfoundation.org
The Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, IL 60610

Example 2: Curator

Another job within a museum is that of the curator (permanent or temporary for just one particular exhibition). Carol Becker made the observation that lately artists and other outsiders are hired by museums to curate exhibitions. They have build up special relationships with a group of artists out of which new exhibitions can arise.

From: Employment Guggenheim Museum
Subject: Curatorial Assistant
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 10:06:52 -0500
Curatorial Assistant
Guggenheim Museum

The Curatorial Assistant will provide support to the senior curatorial staff for ongoing exhibitions and collection-related projects, under the direct supervision of the Associate Curator. The Curatorial Assistant will work on the following forthcoming exhibition projects: Richard Prince Retrospective (Spring 2007), the Anyspacewhatsoever exhibition (Fall 2007), the Louise
Bourgeois Retrospective (2008), the Julie Mehrtetu commission at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin (2007).

In addition, the Curatorial Assistant will provide administrative support to the senior curatorial staff on the Photo Committee, the IDC, and general departmental responsibilities.

Job Requirements:
MA in Art History, some museum experience, and familiarity with contemporary

To Apply:
Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements to
Please use "CA - h-net" in the subject line.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128


Example 3: Curator of Exhibits

Museum Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society

Type of Employment: Full Time (40 hrs/week)

Salary: Pay range $16.042 to $18.13 per hour. This position is in pay schedule and range 13-01. A 12-month probationary period is required.

Special Qualifications: Must possess a valid driver's license upon appointment for independent travel around and between sites. A background check will be conducted prior to an offer of employment.

Job Duties: Conceptualize and develop two- and three-dimensional case, gallery, outdoor, traveling, and virtual exhibits using professional techniques and a combination of complex mediums.  Prepare exhibit design proposals, from conceptual layouts and treatments to finished working drawings, floor plans, elevations, models, design notebooks, and bid documents.  Design effective ways to communicate interpretive objectives, themes, storylines, and subjects using a wide variety of artifacts and other authentic historical materials, graphic reproductions from diverse sources, and original art.  Research and develop effective spatial arrangements, visual presentations, and fabrication methods, taking into consideration budget, physical space, anticipated audiences, duration of exhibits, and safety of historical collections.

Prepare, produce, and install all graphic elements for exhibits.  Prepare original documents and artifacts for display, including matting and framing.

Assist with the production of multi-media presentations.  Design and produce all printed and digital material required for the interpretation and promotion of museum exhibits, educational programs, and events, including banners, posters, signs, brochures, flyers, and press kits.  Organize and curate all physical and electronic files documenting the planning and implementation of exhibit projects. Prepare time estimates, budgets, and schedules for all assigned work. Facilitate productive working relationships with and oversee the work of vendors and service providers. Serve as lead worker for volunteers, interns, students, and limited-term employees.

Provide professional service and advice to various Historical Society programs and the general public.

Special Notes: Must possess a valid driver's license upon appointment for travel around and between sites.  A criminal background check will be conducted prior to offer of employment to determine if the circumstances of any conviction may be related to the job.  The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to hire only individuals who are eligible to work in the United States.  Upon reporting for work, an individual will be expected to present proper evidence establishing employability.

Job Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:  Knowledge of American History. Ability to create original artwork by means of traditional illustrative media and computer imaging.  Applied proficiency with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other applicable CAD software.  Knowledge of professional standards for exhibit design, fabrication, and installation.  Ability to develop two- and three-dimensional exhibits, preferably in a museum setting.  Ability to produce conceptual drawings, floor plans, elevations, shop drawings, and models.  Ability to develop cost estimates and bid specifications.

Knowledge of publication design, layout, and production. Demonstrated organizational skills and ability to multi-task. Good communications skills and demonstrated ability to work as part of a team.  Ability to lift and carry equipment, to handle fragile artifacts without damage, and physically assist with the installation of exhibits.

How to Apply:  Please submit an Application for State Employment form (OSER-DMRS-38), available on the internet at:

(http://oser.state.wi.us/application.asp); a resume; and a paper (not to exceed five pages) which details your education, achievements and experience in each of the following areas (be sure to include your employer, role, responsibilities, the length, degree of independence, decision-making authority and complexity of experience in each area):

1) Formal training in related fields - specify all degrees, certifications, post-graduate coursework, and professional workshops as they pertain to the requirements of the position;

2) Experience as lead designer - describe the duties and responsibilities you performed with each exhibition and the amount of time you performed these duties and responsibilities;

3) Experience in computer-assisted graphic design and production, including publication design, layout, and production - list each printed and web-based product and specify the format for each (e.g. brochure, flyer, poster, advertisement, banner, sign, web feature, press kit, etc.);

4) Experience in the design of interpretive museum exhibits from concept to production - specify the number and size of exhibits and the museums in which it was performed;

5) Experience with cost estimates, bid specifications, and work with contracted services - list each exhibition and describe responsibilities in these specific areas.  Please organize your responses according to the categories listed above. Write clearly and concisely and use examples to support your statements. This is an examination - information provided in a format other than the maximum pages allowed will not be scored. Resumes are not a substitute for your answering the questionnaire. Do not send materials as zip files.

Send completed application materials (via mail, Fax or E-mail) to Alice Jackson, Human Resources Director, Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706-1482; (608) 264-6448; Fax (608) 264-6415; or

E-mail: aljackson@whs.wisc.edu.

Note: this was due in September 2005


Completed materials must be received by 4:30 p.m. on October 6, 2005.

Materials will be evaluated and the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the next step of the selection process. Questions may be directed to Alice Jackson at (608) 264-6448.  If you omit information requested on this announcement, your application may be rated ineligible.

The Wisconsin Historical Society is an equal opportunity employer.




Example 4: Collections / Archives - TMS Assistant at Guggenheim Museum


Complete data entry and data scrubbing projects in the collections management database, The Museum System (TMS), as assigned by the TMS Specialist.  Research and gather information from multiple sources, including: departmental files, catalogue cards, and exhibition catalogues.

Adhere to data standards for all new data entry and bring previous data entry into line with current policies. Identify problematic records and follow up with appropriate research to confirm or correct existing data.

Projects will include data in the areas of collections cataloguing, exhibition and loan histories, digital images, and bibliographic records.

Move existing conservation data per new data entry policies.  Organize and update network image folders and TMS media module records. Correct color profiles and adjust aspect ratio for TMS images, as needed.

Assist TMS Specialist in review and scrubbing of TMS authority lists.

Work with museum staff to complete data entry of classifications and object types.

Enter exhibition and loan histories, and verify existing data with museum records.  Review Constituent records for duplicates and reconcile data as warranted. Verify and/or enter constituent addresses.  Complete bibliographic records for exhibition catalogues and other collection-related references.

Assist TMS Specialist with documentation and tutorials.  Print and distribute documentation and binders of report samples to museum departments.  Assist with user support and training.


·  Detail-oriented

·  Experience with collections management databases; TMS preferred ·  Experience in art museum registrar or curatorial department and familiarity with cataloguing standards ·  Knowledge of Photoshop and MS Office · Excellent communication skills - both verbal and written · Ability to work both independently and collaboratively · Excellent organizational ability · Education: Bachelor's; Masters preferred · Reading competency in Spanish and/or German a plus


Please email your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to employment@guggenheim.org.  Use "TMS Assistant - h-net" in the subject line.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10128


Note: this was a notice put up in 2005


Example 5: Director for Eclectic museums

From: Avril Sherratt <avril@roalddahlmuseum.org>

Subject: Job announcement

Date: Tue,  6 Sep 2005 09:35:13 +0000



Salary £30,000 - £35,000 pa

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in Great Missenden Bucks in June 2005 to critical acclaim. Housing the Roald Dahl archive, the Centre promotes a love of reading and writing and boasts extensive education, outreach and Writer-in-Residence programmes. Visitor numbers have exceeded all projections.

The post of Director demands strong managerial and creative skills, practical experience of working in a customer-focused organisation, an understanding of the care and use of archives as well as experience of outside fund-raising to support income generation. Knowledge of and enthusiasm for children's literature in general, and Roald Dahl's work in particular, are essential.

Candidates must have had at least five years working in a relevant environment.

For further information and an application form, please download details from the 'About Us' section of our website www.roalddahlmuseum.org or contact Amanda Conquy, Trustee, tel 01494 891757 or by e-mail at:


Closing date for applications is Fri 23 Sept 2005



Structuring responsibilities


“Analysing the intellectual mechanisms adopted within complex museums and the cultural relations between members of staff, and reassessing the relationship between  museums and visitors, has led me to reflect on  museum organisation. I have come to two conclusions, neither of each is in line with the current thinking of Italian museology: 1) museums must not be run by managers without any scientific competence or authoritativeness, 2) the scientific staff of museums must be highly specialised in a precise scientific-cultural area; curators must have attended a postgraduate school, and cannot merely have a general degree, such as those on the conservation of cultural heritage.” [6]


Part of the Staff involved in infrastructural aspects of a museum


The use of multi media and therefore the creation of technology departments in museums has brought about the need to have experts of communication on the staff. For instance, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was searching in the autumn of 2005 for a  Systems Engineer:


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's finest museums, seeks a Systems Engineer in the Information Systems & Technology Department.  This position reports to the Manager of Systems & Networking.  This position's primary responsibilities include maintenance & support of the AS400 iSeries; OS updates, PTF's, application updates, Performance Tuning, & Work Management Skills; Security Administration; OS and Applications; Change Management, and program promotions. This person's responsibilities may also evolve into other systems such as a Microsoft Windows Clustered environments.

Successful candidates will have knowledge of HMC & LPAR; CL & RPG Programming and troubleshooting; mainframe concepts and management skills; LAN/WAN; network architecture as it pertains to the iSeries environment; Windows OS; MS Office; Visio; and Sarbanes-Oxley.  The Systems Engineer will posses excellent oral and written communication skills, have the ability to work within a team environment, and be able to prioritize multiple tasks as they are assigned. Experience with merchandising applications on a multi-partition highly available environment within iSeries is required.

Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience required. [7]





Case Studies:

Document: TePapa  - A Summary of Strategic Issues for the Museum Sector for 2002 and beyond as identified by the national museum of new Zealand [8]

Strategic issues are those major issues, initiatives, and visions affecting the development and direction of the museum sector over the next three years.

Strategic issues identified by sector members, together with some of their implications for improving the effectiveness of museum services in our country, are summarised below.

SECTOR ISSUE: Initiating, leading, and managing change


Implications for improving effectiveness

Case Study: The National Museum of Scotland [9]


Corporate Management Team

The Director has overall responsibility for implementing the policy and objectives of the Board of Trustees of NMS. The Director and Corporate Management Team make up the top management tier of NMS.

Dr Gordon Rintoul

Director of the National Museums of Scotland

Mary Bryden

Director of Public Programmes

Jane Carmichael

Director of Collections

Stephen Elson

Director of Facilities Management and Projects

Catherine Holden

Director of Marketing and Development

Andrew Patience

Director of Finance & Resources

The following attend meetings of the Corporate Management Team

Peter Williamson

Managing Director of NMS Enterprises

Sheila McClure

Head of Corporate Policy & Performance

Key structural elements:

Dr Gordon Rintoul

Director of the National Museums of Scotland

The Director has overall responsibility for implementing the policy and objectives of the Board of Trustees, and for leadership to staff and volunteers.

Mary Bryden

Director of Public Programmes

The Director of Public Programmes is responsible for public services, which include Exhibitions, Learning and Programmes, Visitor Services, Online Museum , and Library and Information Services.

Jane Carmichael

Director of Collections

The Director of Collections is responsible for curatorial departments, research policy and programmes, collections management and conservation.

Stephen Elson

Director of Facilities Management and Projects

The Director of Facilities Management and Projects is responsible for Estates, Facilities Management, Support Services, Design and Print and Project Development.

Catherine Holden

Director of Marketing and Development

The Director of Marketing and Development is responsible for marketing and external and internal communications, for fundraising and for NMS's membership schemes.

Sheila McClure
Head of Corporate Policy & Performance

The Head of Corporate Policy & Performance provides an integrated approach to policy development, planning and performance management and reporting across NMS. The post provides information for decision making to the Trustees, Director and Corporate Management Team. The post manages the day to day relationship with the Scottish Executive. The Corporate Management Support Unit provides administrative support to the Director, Corporate Management Team and Head of Corporate Policy & Performance.

Andrew Patience

Director of Finance & Resources

The Director of Finance and Resources is responsible for Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology Services.

Peter Williamson

Managing Director of NMS Enterprises

NMS Enterprises Limited, a company wholly owned by NMS, manages hospitality and events, catering and retail at NMS's museums, and publishing and image licensing for NMS.

This site is copyright Trustees of the National Museums of Scotland | Contact Us

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Wider scope than mere management structure

Link between management, curators and artistic involvements

Professionals: restoration experts, art historians, museum experts,

Technology brings with it new category of people to be employed, consulted and referred to from data ban, web designers, new media designers, etc.

Guards - security


Only professional staff

Professional staff and volunteers

Here much depends upon ‘leadership’, ‘collective spirit’, ‘coherent strategy’, ‘assessment and evaluation procedures’, ‘mission’, ‘aims and objectives’, ‘museum’s adaptation policy’, ‘heritage line’, ‘tangible and intangible heritage’

Chicago Architectural Foundation – ‘political correctness’ / dynamic curator pushing the truth beyond a certain line / conservative body of trustees – interests in how money is being spend / prestige and image / reputation / background and original story on how founded / development: cup of qualitative transition / link to the volunteers with 40 paid staff and 400 volunteers – ratio 1 : 10 (Source: Stacy Koumbis, 25.8.2005 + questionnaire)

Innovation, Exhibitions and Collections


September 30 - October 1

Collecting and Exhibiting

Canadian Art Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal (Canada) http://www.mmfa.qc.ca/en/activites/adultes/activites_36.html





Inner workings of museums – some insights


From: "Moore, Ashley" <Ashley.Moore@metmuseum.org>

Subject: New Opportunities at the Met

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 14:43:53 -0400



1) Executive Assistant - IS&T


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's finest museums, seeks an Executive Assistant to work in our Department of Information Systems and Technology (IS&T).  The Executive Assistant provides all administrative support to the Chief Technology Officer and is responsible for scheduling meetings and appointments; answering all telephone calls and directing calls to the appropriate persons; answering email inquiries; coordinating mass mailings and distributions; coordinating travel itineraries; ordering office supplies; act as the time and attendance liaison; processing requests for payments for travel and expense reports; and back-up the Help Desk as needed.


Successful candidates will possess administrative experience in a busy office environment, and will possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.  Candidates will have the ability to work independently and as part of a team, and possess the ability to solve problems creatively and with multiple tasks.  Must have the ability to train other administrative personnel throughout the Museum on Office automation tools and procedures.  Bachelor Degree is required. Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Internet Explorer is also required; knowledge of other software and of Personal Digital Assistants (e.g., Palm Pilots), preferred.


Please send cover letter, resume, and salary history to employoppty@metmuseum.org as a Word attachment only with the position title "Executive Assistant, IS&T" in the subject line.



2) Production Assistant


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's finest museums, seeks a part-time Production Assistant in the Textile Reproduction Department.

Primary responsibilities include: creating and maintaining product boards for monthly New Products Meeting; photographing products for line Lists and UBIT lists; maintaining graphic aspects of line lists; maintaining and developing Logo Log; coloring print images for use in product development; developing and designing T-shirts; Photoshop manipulation of design images for development of scarves, totes, small leather goods, and T-shirts, and other related duties as required.


Successful candidates will have 3-5 years significant experience working in art-related jobs. Must have a strong art background/artistic experience in graphic arts.  Required computer skills include: Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Quark, Photoshop, and Illustrator.  Color expertise and an interest in fashion are preferred.  Must have college degree with art school training and knowledge of Art History desired.


Please send cover letter, resume, and salary history to employoppty@metmuseum.org as a Word attachment only with the position title in the subject line.




H-Net Network for Museums and Museum Studies

E-Mail: h-museum@h-net.msu.edu

WWW: http://www.h-museum.net


From: Employment Guggenheim Museum <employment@guggenheim.org>

Subject: Library Assistant / Internship Coordinator

Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 10:21:47 -0500



1) Library Assistant

Guggenheim Museum


Under the supervision of the Manager of the Library and Archive, the Library Assistant is responsible for the administration, operation and maintenance of library automation systems; provides organizational and technical support for the acquisition, processing and maintenance of all library materials, supplies and equipment; coordinates, schedules and trains volunteer staff; oversees the Library Exchange Program and periodical subscriptions; assists in other Library functions as directed by the Manager of the Library and Archives.




· Acquisitions.  Process and issue purchase orders or for all books, catalogs, and serials.  Interface with vendors, publishers, generate claims as necessary.  Maintain serial records.  Order office supplies and equipment.


· Collection Maintenance.  Oversee processing, pre-sorting and filing of all books, catalogs and serials.  Create labels and signs. Prepare material for binding or in-house mending.


· Exchange Program.  Manage database of exchange partners.  Process or initiate requests for individual materials, and track activity with exchange partners. Arrange for receipt and storage of museum publications.  Oversee twice yearly exchange mailing.


· Research and Reference.  Receives and relays incoming library calls and visitors providing courteous and friendly service to library patrons as well as providing first level reference assistance and bibliographic instruction to Museum staff and patrons.


· Volunteers.  Provide training of volunteer and intern support staff in Library of Congress call numbers, bibliographic verification and filing rules.  Provide a friendly and challenging work environment for volunteers.




Minimum Qualifications:

· Completion of a four-year college or university program with a baccalaureate degree with course work in Art History, History, Library Science, or other related field.

· Minimum of two years experience as a library clerk or library assistant in a similar facility.


Preferred Qualifications:

· Knowledge of Museum purposes, organization and procedures.

· Demonstrated organizational skill and knowledge of research library procedures.

· Ability to work on a wide variety of projects concurrently, with concern for the tasks assigned and the goals of the library.

· Knowledge of standard office procedures, including maintenance of financial records and familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel, Access.

· Ability and willingness to maintain a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.




Email cover letter, resume, three references to employment@guggenheim.org Place the words "library assist - h-net" in the subject box.



Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10128






2) Internship Coordinator

Guggenheim Museum




· Assist Education Program Manager for adult programs for all activities related to the Internship and Fellowship Programs.

· Prior to each intern cycle send intern requests forms to approved departments.  Follow-up with departments who do not respond on schedule.

Review submissions for special requirements.

· Coordinate recruitment outreach to ensure a diverse and qualified applicant pool.  With the Manager's approval, order advertising, prepare mailings to schools for Manager's signature.  Seek new recruiting avenues.

Evaluate results of each recruiting effort and refine the process.

· Review and evaluate applications, following up on missing pieces, if necessary.  Distribute qualified applications to department heads, coordinate interviewing process with department heads; send acceptance letters, send rejection letters.

· Evaluate and report on 'special request intern' applications.  Coordinate participation or rejection of candidates with department heads involved.

· Coordinate visa process between candidates and Legal department.

· Prepare for orientation at the start of each internship season.  Arrange for space, photo IDs, prepare materials.  Create record file for each, to which department feedback will be added.  Be responsible for emergency contact information.

· Coordinate Museum Culture Seminars.   Maintain relationships with outside

resources to cultivate future participation.  Schedule space, outside visits, speakers.  Plan local travel.

· Serve as point person for the Program.  Be available for questions and feedback from interns and Guggenheim staff throughout the program period.

· Collect intern and supervisor evaluations from departments.  Track program graduates who are likely candidates for future employment.  Communicate with HR.

· Coordinate Hilla Rebay Fellowship, including working with Legal for visa matters, and Finance for payroll questions.

· Keep track of all expenses associated with the Internship Program.




· Education:  BA in Art History, Education, or related liberal arts field with knowledge of modern and contemporary art.

· Experience:  One-two years non-profit administrative experience, knowledge of regional, national, and international higher education university system and New York City art institutions; former art museum intern a plus; teaching experience helpful.

· Skills:  Excellent communication, organizational, writing, public speaking skills; diplomatic and nurturing personality; able to juggle time-sensitive projects with multiple layers and numerous details; bi/multilingual desirable.




Please email resume and cover letter with salary history/range to Employment@guggenheim.org.

Please use "InternCoord - h-net" in the subject line.



Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10128




Organisational strategies

Creating a backbone for work being done within the museum is crucial to understand the social, economic, political and more important the cultural context in which a museum operates in. It shall need over time various resources from good carpenters to graphic designers. A functioning museum can rely on outside resources to do the work since not everything is needed all at once but should be potentially available in order to meet demands and needs as they come up. That means the museum must at all times be in good relationships to specialised and outstanding services being provided by other entities. And this does not apply merely to the productive side. A museum must keep up as well good relationships with educational institutes as classes coming to see special exhibition require special organisational structures and services to allow for such a provision. This includes knowing when staff of the museum is available to give these classes a special tour.

Example: Staatliche Museen Belrin







Central Archive


Institute of Museum Research

Rathgen Research Laboratory

Prussian Cultural Heritage








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To return to the outset of this chapter, criticism of how museums organised themselves in the past has not been fulfilled necessarily in how modern ones have adapted to the challenges of the 21st century. Increasingly the criticism has been heard that museums should devote more of their time and energy to what has been all along their mission, namely to preserve and to promote their collections rather than entering the social game of being a multi functional enterprise for anything as long as it brings in money. With Tate Modern breaking out of the traditional fold and the British Museum revamping its famous library to utilize more its function as an object of interest for tourists than being used as Marx did in his time by people who wish to study really in silence, the formidable challenges have not been met in a satisfactory way. Crowd pleasers are a long way off substantial work in need to be done to ensure the continuity of culture and of more than superficial reflections as to what others created in different periods of time to make life possible on this earth. The  criticism was heard by the museum report published two weeks after the bombings on the London Tube in 2005. The report stated British museums tend to have a white over aged staff of volunteers resilient to any kind of internal reform (the director who lasted a mere seven months at the Imperial War Museum can tell her own story about that) while most museums do not have in their collections artefacts of the multi cultural communities which have sprung up in Britain especially since 1945. The report goes on to attest that there are not even experts available who could interpret these artefacts even they had been collected. This means the memory base for the future shall be itself superficial and easily redundant if museums tend more towards organising themselves for the sake of show-off effects rather than being the outcome of substantial intellectual work and an expertise gathered along with the collections so as to ensure a minimum knowledge base does exist in both tangible and intangible ways so as to be a key reference point.

If museums are to organise themselves in a way that they can function at financial level, then following things have to be kept in mind:

Time line of development (2 to 3 years but then also what it takes to upgrade something having become old and is therefore in need of being overhauled, updated, improved upon all along while the clearest time measure is how to preserve the collection over time in both a physical and an intangible way i.e. at the level of meanings and interpretations. Here enter cost estimates and what limitations pose what kind of time lines as to when the exhibition must be ready. Often museums neglect the fact that intentions remain invisible as the limitations (of resources) becomes all to apparent in the way certain solutions are sought while obvious gaps are clearly visible.



[1] Givanni Pinna, The intellectual organisation of museums, (2005) (not published), p. 1

[2] Franz Fanon, in his introduction to the ‘Wretched of this Earth’ wrote that the Parthenon as symbol of Western Civilization does not hold everywhere; he signaled as shown in the war between Algeria and France the beginning of a revolt against Europe and specifically a specific way of interpreting culture. This became in Africa during the late sixties and early seventies a search for an own identity such as ‘Negritude’: a humanist variation on the African continent what had spread throughout Europe already after the Middle Ages thanks especially to the Renaissance. Still, when compared to the diffused images created nowadays with Nelson Mandela in South Africa showing a way on how to get out of past repressions without renewed violence due to taking revenge upon the former suppressors, then Africa has many other faces. Naturally through the media images are created which are linked to the AIDS epidemics and other disasters brought about by war, corruption, draught, genocide, low level development etc., so it is not clear as of yet what kind of intercultural dialog Europe will enter in future. Certainly museums must take up this work of changing international relationships and new patterns of development all leaving an imprint upon not respective cultures, but also on the willingness to engage in this dialog opening up ways to become receptive to other cultures without loss of own identity.

[3] Andrej Rataj, Presentation given about “Digitalization of Cultural Heritage” at Museum’s workshop as part of the HERMES Project in Volos, June 2005 – see evaluation report by Hatto Fischer, p. 3

[4] Giovanni Pinna, The intellectual organization of museums (2005) (unpublished), p. 3 - 4

[5] Posting by H-MUSEUM 26.7.2005

H-Net Network for Museums and Museum Studies

E-Mail: h-museum@h-net.msu.edu

WWW: http://www.h-museum.net

[6] Giovanni Pinna, “The intellectual organization of museums” (unpublished), p. 1

[7] Info from: "Moore, Ashley" Ashley.Moore@metmuseum.org or employoppty@metmuseum.org

Mon, 12 Sep 2005. Source: H-Net Network for Museums and Museum Studies

E-Mail: h-museum@h-net.msu.edu

WWW: http://www.h-museum.net

[8] Source: www.tepapa.govt.nz

[9] http://www.nms.ac.uk/nms/about/facts.asp?m=1&s=4



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