Transitioning from graduate school to the larger museum world me feeling hopeless last May. My master’s program in museum studies emphasized the importance of museums being both politically and socially conscious. Young professionals were touted as the ones bring about the change. So there I was freshly printed degree in hand, ready to find a position where I could use everything I had learned. Due to COVID-19, there were no jobs. For months I was desperate to find a museum position to apply to. A role at a conscious museum did not seem possible. Many other young professionals were in the same position. Many of them remain in the same position. For this reason, I offer a glimmer of hope.
I now work at a museum that takes things like difficult history, diversity, and community responsiveness seriously. When I said I wanted to lead a seminar to help tour guides feel comfortable speaking about the realities of slavery, my bosses were all for it. During a youth event, I had children write a land acknowledgment for their houses. Staff thought it was a grand idea. My director is an empowered female dedicated to empowering her female staff. It is the type of organization I yearned for while in school.
If you are a young professional trying to break into the field or trying to find a new role, please keep your hopes up. There are positions out there. My job is not full time. I work every weekend. If I had to live off my wages, I would not be able to do so. However, it is a start. The type of place you want to work is out there. Don’t give up just yet.