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Museum Attendants

Advancement Prospects

Museum work is characterized by unusual freedom within a job area and short, sometimes nonexistent, promotional ladders. For example, only one or two management levels may separate museum attendants from the director of the museum, yet the positions at the intervening levels may carry specific requirements, such as a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in managing budgets and staff. It is unlikely that an attendant lacking these qualifications would be able to acquire them solely through continuing work at the museum. There are no hard-and-fast rules, however; to offset the relative lack of vertical movement, there is opportunity for lateral movement, that is, for assuming a new position elsewhere in the museum at the same employment rank, and for exploring a position in depth. Attendants' duties may change with the seasons, as new exhibits are opened, and as attendants gain experience and discover creative possibilities in their jobs. Because of the stimulating and changing environment, museum workers tend to have high job satisfaction and may remain in their jobs for long periods of time; when they do move, they often remain within the museum field. Attendants who are successful at smaller museums may move to larger institutions with correspondingly broader responsibilities.

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