Museum Attendants


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A high school diploma is usually required for many museum attendant positions. Museum attendants must have working knowledge of their employing institution's collections. To achieve this wide range of knowledge, a broad academic background is necessary. Courses in art, biology, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, literature, and history are recommended. Communications and public speaking classes are helpful. Math and computer courses are also beneficial because most museums are installing interactive computer displays in exhibit areas.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree is not required for most museum attendant positions but can give candidates an advantage in the job market. Undergraduate courses in art, communications, history, anthropology, English, literature, and computer science, among other subjects, will be beneficial. Attendants typically undergo a period of in-service training immediately after being hired, during which they receive instruction in the content of the exhibits, the history of the museum, and the specific duties they are expected to perform. Content instruction is repeated whenever a new exhibit opens or the attendant is shifted to a different area of the museum.

Other Education or Training

The American Alliance of Museums offers continuing education (CE) opportunities via webinars and educational sessions at its Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. Most focus on advanced topics such as acquisitions, business planning, and technology, but taking a class or two will give you a good introduction to general museum-related issues. The Small Museum Association also provides CE classes. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for museum attendants.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed to become a museum attendant, but those with experience are more likely to land jobs, earn higher pay, and get promoted.

Attendants are liaisons to the museum's visitors. Because museums strive to serve diverse audiences, museum attendants who know a foreign language, sign language, and/or CPR are at a great advantage. Being able to communicate with many types of individuals is a necessary requirement for these people-oriented positions.