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Museum Collections Manager

Take charge of a museum collection's upkeep.

What does a Museum Collections Manager do?

The care and keeping of a museum’s objects falls to the Museum Collections Manager. Wait…isn’t that what a Museum Curator does? Not exactly. A Museum Curators focus on acquiring objects and developing the collection-basically, they decide what a museum displays. In contrast, Museum Collections Managers are responsible for taking care of the museum’s artifacts. Whether dealing with ancient artifacts or newfangled displays, Collection Managers maintain, preserve, catalogue, and store each specific item.

You won’t ever find a Museum Collection Managers working quietly away in a back office. On any given day, you could be solving a storage dilemma (how exactly should you store a stuffed ostrich?), cataloguing hundred-year-old objects, or developing culturally-appropriate practices for handling special objects like sacred artifacts.

In many cases, you’ll work with the Museum Curator to decide which pieces should go into a particular exhibit. You’ll also deal with logistics, figuring out the best means to ship an object, coordinating with potential clients, or managing database systems. You may even be tasked with developing an emergency/disaster plan for the museum.

Museum Collections Managers can’t be afraid to get their hands dirty-remember that pest management is an important part of keeping a museum running smoothly-but you’ll never be bored. And even if you don’t relish the idea of dusting every last wooden mask in the collection, you can always remember your admirable end goal: the careful and ethical care of a collection and its legacy.