Case study

Museum education officer — Jessica

Jessica enjoys developing museum education resources for school children and the local community. Find out more about how her role has developed to include digital resources and social media

What degree course did you study?

I graduated in 2022 with an Archaeology MLitt from the University of the Highlands and Islands. I also have a first class BA (Hons) in History and Politics from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

How did you get your job?

Following graduation, I struggled with making choices for my career and found myself pretty miserable in every job I got. I saw a job listing for museum education officer with Cumbria's Museum of Military Life and decided on a whim to apply, not thinking I would get it. It was the best choice I've made.

What's a typical working day like?

I might be meeting new school pupils or developing new resources. I have also been tasked with making a new TikTok for the museum, which is where my role has massively developed to include digital resources and social media.

In this work, you find bringing educational material to an audience can really be done in many different ways. Generally, though, the main responsibility of my job is to lead school sessions and community activities.

What are the challenges?

I would say there are two main challenges. Firstly, it can be difficult gauging what concepts the pupils are aware of. It is important to think quickly and be flexible, depending on how well versed the pupils are with the topic.

Internally, I find imposter syndrome very difficult to deal with. It is very easy to assume we don't belong, or that we are not as skilled as our peers, but it is important to remember that we were hired for a reason - someone saw potential in us.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I'm currently taking on a lot more digital and social media responsibilities, and I am absolutely loving work. I have become a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and am also a member of the Group for Education in Museums (GEM).

For now, I am happy where I am, and I hope I will be able to continue in this field, wherever I end up.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?

Research the professors as their research interests will greatly influence the dissertation topic you pick. Secondly, don't limit yourself to certain topics - you can get a wealth of transferable skills from many areas.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

  • Research the current education offers the museum has and demonstrate at interview how you can add to this.
  • Come with lots of ideas, as crazy they may be. Your passion will show.
  • Remember, you want to look for a museum that will be a good fit for you too.

Find out more

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