Professional Profiles in the Museum: Introduction, Tips and Practice

Do you ever wonder what it is like to work in a museum? How many people are needed to efficiently run an institution such as MGLC? Here is a brief summary of the essential staff in a museum and a short explanation of their roles. Depending on the size of the institution, the tittles or names of the professions may vary, as well as the numbers of professionals employed – which is why only the  most common museum professions are discussed, not linked to any particular institution. For example, in a big museum there can be several curators, restorers and registrars with assistants, whereas in a small gallery there may be just one curator who takes on all the tasks of the before-mentioned.

Director: The director is the person that coordinates and supervises the work in a museum – every activity, every event and every new piece that comes to the institution. He is a professional specialized in museum activity. He represents the institution and, as its face and voice, is also in charge of guiding fundraising and charity events.

Assistant Director: His job is to ensure the smooth-running of the management department. He assists the director, organizes and prepares meetings, keeps and administers records, manages agendas and correspondence. He is also in charge of the financial aspects of the museum, which means that he is the person that takes care of the budgets, expenses, employment of staff, also managing staff leave, absence and vacations.

Curator: The curator is the soul of the museum. He is responsible for planning, managing, cataloguing and storing the museum collections, as well as organizing permanent and temporary exhibitions, and deciding which art pieces should be exhibited or placed in storage.

Conservator: When the museum purchases a new painting in auction, the conservator is the first one to get his hands on it. His job is to ensure that the painting lasts as long as it can. He examines and documents the painting to find out the materials and the techniques used in its production (even from thousands of years ago), and decides the best treatment to avoid any further deterioration or changes to the artwork, when stored or exposed to the public. He is constantly researching new conservation methods and is able to reproduce the original techniques used to create the art piece in order to restore it appropriately.

Registrar: The registrar works closely with the curator, organizing and managing the transfer of museum artefacts from storage to display and back. He coordinates the setting up and dismantling of exhibitions, as well as the shipping and receipt of artworks. He is responsible for the analysis, labelling and proper storage of the art works once received or removed from display. His task is also to ensure the proper handling and storage of the pieces, as well as managing the insurance and legal issues involving them.

Marketing Manager: He is the person in charge of planning and developing a strategy that helps to communicate the contents of the museum to different types of public. He works hand in hand with the director on the main goal of the institution. He understands the role of all of the museum departments and collaborates with them often to build strategies.

PR Manager: The public relations manager is the link between the museum, the visitors and the external collaborators of the institution, which includes possible sponsors, members of the media and press, potential groups of visitors, or other cultural institutions. His tasks include managing the museum’s relations, finding sponsors for its events, organizing press conferences and informing the media about the relevant activities of the institution.

Programme Coordinator: He is the person in charge of planning and developing programmes for museum visitors, taking care of the coordination and schedule of everyone involved, as well as guiding tours and providing teaching. A good programme coordinator is a creative, open, organized and positive person that enjoys good working relationships with the internal team, as well as any possible outside contractors to ensure an optimal working environment.

Librarian: The main role of a museum librarian is to archive material, however, depending on the institution, he can have several tasks as part of his daily routine. He is in charge of all documentary material, including archiving, collecting, cataloguing, preparing, exchanging, organizing and preserving of various materials. A librarian often helps other co-workers in the museum to collect information for the collections or future exhibitions. In the new digital era, a librarian might also be in charge of the digitalisation of the museum’s archives, or research new ways of improving the application of digital technologies in the museum’s archive.

Visitor’s Care and Security Assistant Manager: He is in charge of welcoming the visitors or clients to the institution, organizing the ticket office and taking care of the security and safety of the displayed art. 

Besides these basic professions, museums usually have other help in the form of internal or external members of staff depending on the size of the institution. Some examples are:

- Photographer

- Exhibition Designer

- Lighting Designer

- Graphic Designer

- Special Events Manager

- Restoration Assistant

By Natalia Corbillón González

 

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ARCHIVE

Samuel Grajfoner: The Material Presence of the Mental Imprint

21. 1.–8. 3. 2022
MGLC - Tivoli Mansion

The exhibition presents large-format prints in the techniques of engraving and drypoint, created in recent years and mostly presented to the public for the first time. They reflect the artist's understanding of the creative process as a spontaneous, organic development of the preparation of the matrix, which materialises in an impression on paper or, for the first time, in bronze. 

Opening of the exhibition: on Friday, 21 January 2022, at 6 pm, at the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana.

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Samuel Grajfoner, Untitled (from the cycle Nothing), 2021, engraving

Adriena Šimotová: Encounter. Touch and Imprint.

10 December 2021 to 8 March 2022
Tivoli Mansion

You are welcome to visit the exhibition Encounter. Touch and Imprint. by Adriena Šimotová. This selective retrospective at MGLC features artworks in which Šimotová radicalized the existentially conceived topic of the human personality while engaging in an earnest determination of the conditions and relationships she found relevant. 

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Mi smo tisti, ki jih iščemo I–V, 2011–12, transparentni papir, pigment, pastel, grafit, 111 x 79 cm, Fundacija Adriene Šimotove in Jiříja Johna, Praga

Adrijan Praznik: --WHERE OUR HEARTS HAVE LED US…

7. 1.−13. 2. 2022
MGLC Švicarija

Adrijan Praznik plays various roles in the world of art – he is a painter, illustrator, curator, producer and artistic director of Simulaker Gallery in Novo mesto. In January 2022, he completed a two-year artist residency at MGLC Švicarija. Upon his departure, he prepared the exhibition --WHERE OUR HEARTS HAVE LED US... The spatial installation of two large-scale paintings raises questions that illustrate his work and research focus in 2021 particularly. Namely, he is concerned with the form and status of the artwork, the appropriation of the media image and the combination of pictorial means of expression as well as materials.

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Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.