If you ask some people what they think of museums, they might tell you that the word conjures up images of yawn-stifling tours in quiet, tomblike places, the atmosphere as inspiring as the inside of a crypt. The idea of displaying and examining the art and artifacts that make up the world’s history reminds them of dry school lessons filled with impossible-to-remember names and dates and events that hold no meaning in their current lives.
Fortunately, that perception is not as widely shared as those uninitiated in the wonder of museums might believe. But if you are reading this book, you already know that. Museums are not dull and lifeless structures displaying dull and lifeless artifacts. They are as exciting as a space launch or a Civil War battlefield, an African safari or a Roman amphitheater.
Patrons of the arts, history lovers, and those who look to the future have continuously provided enthusiastic support to museums, ensuring their survival through the ages. From meager beginnings, thousands of museums now flourish throughout the world, displaying a wide range of collections.
Museums are no longer repositories for just art or ancient relics. They house everything from moon rocks to Julia Childs’s kitchen. And as varied as the collections are, so are the opportunities for employment. In this chapter we explore the different kinds of museums and the career paths they offer.