I am interested in learning about your career as a Ph.D.
working in a museum and how one goes about preparing themselves for
that kind of career path. While I enjoy research, I am more
interested in a career that involves education and public
engagement in the sciences. Recently I have begun considering
career paths that would allow me to work in these areas and I
thought that museum work would be a great avenue to
Would you be willing to describe your career path? During
graduate school did you volunteer at museums? What did you do after
graduating? Did you have to complete additional degrees to be
considered for your current position? Is your "story" typical of
science museum curators? I am also very interested in what your job
is actually like on a day-to-day basis. Colleen said that you are
engaged in a small research project. How much of your time is spent
working on that? What else do you do- exhibit development,
fundraising, public talks? Do you spend a lot of time working with
the public? Kids or adults?
As you can see, I have a lot of questions regarding this
topic. I would greatly appreciate any advice or enlightenment you
can provide. Thank you for your time!
Thanks for your awesome questions. As a curator, I wear
many hats from development (fundraising, working with donors), lots
of outreach for kids and adults, and when I'm in the lab there
are always dishes to wash, no day is the same, and it's very busy,
but very rewarding.There is no direct career path for museum
scientists in health, because there are so few of us currently
across the world. I too knew I wanted to pursue a career in science
outside of typical university setting, so I sought out mentors
that could help me in addition to completing my PhD research.
What do I do every day? At DMNS they required a PhD because
about 30% of my job is to still perform grant-funded research. In
addition I work with youth and teacher programs groups to ensure
that all health content the Museum delivers is accurate and up to
date, I work with our Museum exhibits specialists to keep
Expedition Health cutting edge, and I then there's always
administrative (time sheets meetings supervision etc.) as part of
When it comes down to it, to be a curator/scientists in a
museum, you need to love working with people and communicating-
giving talks, lectures, media interviews, continuing education
courses, and lots more types of outreach. With that in mind you
would be well served to volunteer at a local museum to get the lay
of the land, you would need to demonstrate excellence in both
professional communication (talks at nat'l and internat'l meetings)
and in general public communication- this can be tricky, you need
to be creative to find ways to get experience in this. Finally, you
need to still be able to do bench work and publish, and love every
minute of it.
Hope this helps, it was great to hear from you!
Yo Pearl the Science Girl