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Career and Education Opportunities for Museum Technicians in St. Louis, Missouri

Museum technician career and educational opportunities abound in St. Louis, Missouri. There are currently 690 working museum technicians in Missouri; this should shrink by 2% to 680 working museum technicians in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for museum technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 25.6% over the next eight years. In general, museum technicians prepare specimens, such as fossils, skeletal parts, and textiles, for museum collection and exhibits.

The income of a museum technician is about $14 per hour or $30,440 yearly on average in Missouri. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $36,660 per year on average. Museum technicians earn less than people working in the category of Libraries and Museums generally in Missouri and less than people in the Libraries and Museums category nationally. Museum technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: research assistant, conservator, and lace and textiles restorer.

The St. Louis area is home to seventy-one schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can get a degree as a museum technician. Given that the most common education level for museum technicians is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be a museum technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Museum Technician

Museum Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, museum technicians prepare specimens, such as fossils, skeletal parts, and textiles, for museum collection and exhibits. They also may restore documents or install, arrange, and exhibit materials.

Museum technicians set up and ready artifacts for exhibition, ensuring the artifacts' safety, reporting their status and condition, and identifying and correcting any problems with the set-up. They also direct exhibit installations, assisting with layout and models, and ensuring the availability of needed materials. Equally important, museum technicians have to decide on whether objects need repair and choose the safest and most effective method of repair. They are often called upon to supervise and coordinate with volunteers. They are expected to clean objects, such as paper and furniture, using cleansers and polishes. Finally, museum technicians ready artifacts for storage and shipping.

Every day, museum technicians are expected to be able to think through problems and come up with general rules. They need to prioritize information for further consideration. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for museum technicians to present public programs and tours. They are often called upon to notify superior when restoration of artifacts requires outside experts. They also repair, restore and reassemble artifacts, designing and fabricating missing or broken parts, to restore them to their original appearance and avoid deterioration. They are sometimes expected to direct and supervise curatorial and technical staff in the handling and storage of art objects. Somewhat less frequently, museum technicians are also expected to present public programs and tours.

Museum technicians sometimes are asked to build and install wooden steps and walkways to get access to or permit improved view of exhibited equipment. They also have to be able to ready reports on the operation of conservation laboratories, documenting the state of artifacts and the methods of preservation and repair used And finally, they sometimes have to direct and supervise curatorial and technical staff in the handling and storage of art objects.

Like many other jobs, museum technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in St. Louis include:

  • Archivist. Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.
  • Audio-Visual Director. Prepare, plan, and operate audio-visual teaching aids for use in education. May record, catalogue, and file audio-visual materials.
  • Curator. Administer affairs of museum and conduct research programs. Direct instructional, research, and public service activities of institution.
  • Librarian. Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, non-profit organizations, and healthcare providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, and maintaining library materials; and furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers' advisory services. May perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, and filter information. May set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.
  • Library Information Technian. Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases, and indexes to locate books and other materials; and by answering questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Compile records; sort and shelve books; remove or repair damaged books; register patrons; check materials in and out of the circulation process. Replace materials in shelving area (stacks) or files. Includes bookmobile drivers who operate bookmobiles or light trucks that pull trailers to specific locations on a predetermined schedule and assist with providing services in mobile libraries.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Museum Technician Training

Lindenwood University - Saint Charles, MO

Lindenwood University, 209 S Kingshighway, Saint Charles, MO 63301-1695. Lindenwood University is a large university located in Saint Charles, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,253 students and an admission rate of 40%. Lindenwood University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Art History, Criticism and Conservation.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville - Edwardsville, IL

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Il State Rte 157, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1001. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a large university located in Edwardsville, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,602 students and an admission rate of 89%. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Museology/Museum Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

Principia College - Elsah, IL

Principia College, 1 Maybeck Place, Elsah, IL 62028-9799. Principia College is a small college located in Elsah, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 520 students and an admission rate of 84%. Principia College has a bachelor's degree program in Art History, Criticism and Conservation.

University of Missouri-St Louis - Saint Louis, MO

University of Missouri-St Louis, One University Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63121-4400. University of Missouri-St Louis is a large university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,591 students and an admission rate of 46%. University of Missouri-St Louis has a bachelor's degree program in Art History, Criticism and Conservation which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

Saint Louis University-Main Campus - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis University-Main Campus, 221 N Grand Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63103-2097. Saint Louis University-Main Campus is a large university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,975 students and an admission rate of 72%. Saint Louis University-Main Campus has a bachelor's degree program in Art History, Criticism and Conservation which graduated nine students in 2008.

Washington University in St Louis - Saint Louis, MO

Washington University in St Louis, One Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899. Washington University in St Louis is a large university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,946 students and an admission rate of 22%. Washington University in St Louis has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Art History, Criticism and Conservation which graduated six and five students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.