Industry Insights: Careers in Museums Recap

On Thursday, November 5, the Education, Nonprofit & Government Career Community at DePaul hosted a panel discussion with current professionals in the museum industry to speak about their roles and experiences working in museums. The panelists shared their journeys of how they ended up in this industry and provided some insights for students on how to break into the field. 

Panelists were asked questions around different themes, including overviews of their roles, recommended hard and soft skills to have for this industry, advice for students and alumni to break into the museum industry, and more. 

Our volunteer panelists included:

  • Madeline Shearer, Assistant Director of Institutional Relations at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Lorien Yonker, Curatorial Associate for the Arts of Africa and Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Molly Butler, Marketing Coordinator at the Field Museum
  • Catherine Anchin, Acting Associate Director for Advancement and External Affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC

How One of the Panelists Started Her Museum Journey

“When I was a senior in undergrad, I started reaching out to museum professionals whether on LinkedIn or email and just saying, “Hi I’m a student and I’m really interested in your job, do you mind chatting with me for half an hour?” That way you start to really build a network, because museum jobs are few and far between, especially now. The more relationships you have and connections you build can really give you a leg up when those decisions open up.”

Interested in setting up an informational interview? Check out this resource in our career library!

Important Advice for Succeeding and Advancing in Museum Roles

“Be prepared to advocate for yourself. In my experience, our work is quite a bit more fast paced than people imagine and we’re on from one project to the next continually. So, if you do get your foot in the door and want to advance, you really have to get comfortable putting yourself out there and advocating for yourself. I know that doesn’t always come naturally to people, myself included, so it’s something I really had to work at and practice in other areas of my life. That really served me well in advancing to the kind of position I was hoping to get.”

Check out the full recording of the event below!