What if I have no financial support?

Oliver wants experience without incurring expenses.

​I am a recent university graduate, receiving a first class honours degree in history. 

I have always wanted to work within a museum or heritage site, and put the intellectual stimulation from the job above any monetary factors. 

Unfortunately, the costs of a masters degree are too high for me to consider at this time. 

How can I get involved in collections, exhibitions, research or museum management, without spending money?

— Oliver

Expert answers

Sally Munday's reply:

Hi Oliver,

Congratulations on your degree, first of all!

There are many ways to get into a career in museums, but in your case I definitely think the best way is to volunteer.

Volunteering is a great way to get to see how heritage organisations and museums really work. You often get the chance to receive training and loads of invaluable experience. 

It seems that you have a wide interest in museums  from collections to management – so a smaller local museum might be a great place to start for more opportunities.

For example, Harrow Museum are after volunteers and they have loads to offer. They often have less people getting in touch with them to volunteer but have more to offer someone willing and passionate like you. 

Otherwise, most major museums have volunteer programmes – so get in touch and see what’s out there!

On another note, I didn’t do an MA and have forged a career in the heritage sector so it is possible! Are there any other qualifications you could do that aren’t as expensive? ​

Once you have volunteered for a while, you can use the expertise of the staff and get them to point you in the right direction of training or qualifications.

Best of Luck!


Lynsey Rutter 's reply:

Hi Oliver,

Like Sally said, you don’t neccessarily need a Masters to get an entry level job in a museum. I got my first job as an explainer in a museum and then was able to fund an MA part time alongside work.

Volunteering is great, but it can also be difficult to fund that of course! Maybe look out for paid internships or traineeships. They are competitive, but well worth it!

Best of luck!


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