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Career and Education Opportunities for Museum Technicians in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for museum technicians. There are currently 140 working museum technicians in Wisconsin; this should grow by 15% to 160 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. Museum technicians generally prepare specimens, such as fossils, skeletal parts, and textiles, for museum collection and exhibits.

A person working as a museum technician can expect to earn about $14 hourly or $30,870 per year on average in Wisconsin and about $17 hourly or $36,660 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Museum technicians earn less than people working in the category of Libraries and Museums generally in Wisconsin and less than people in the Libraries and Museums category nationally. Jobs in this field include: curatorial assistant, research assistant, and collections manager.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Madison where you can study to be a museum technician, among thirteen schools of higher education total in the Madison area. Museum technicians usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Madison include:

  • Archivist. Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Museum Technician Training

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1380. University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large university located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 41,581 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Wisconsin-Madison has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Art History, Criticism and Conservation which graduated nineteen, six, and one students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.