Why are museum workers leaving the field? — UPDATE

A few months back, some colleagues and I asked you for your thoughts about leaving the museum field. Over 1,000 of you responded!

This update is a bit of a non-update (sorry!). We’re still processing the responses. In the meantime, here’s some of what we heard:


What advice would you give to the museum field to prevent more people like you from leaving it?

I honestly can’t answer this question. I think the museum field needs to take a good look at itself and fix its issues regarding too many museum studies programs + not enough jobs, pay disparity, etc. Until these issues are fixed, I will not be recommending to anyone that they enter our field.


Stabilize funding, increase pay and improve work/life balance


Invest in young full time professionals


Make your sterling employees feel appreciated. We know going into it that no one is going to get rich working in non-profit, but you have to be able to live and grow a family. Most people in museum work just aren’t able to do that.


You already have the solutions to solve so many of the crises that afflict the field. Let younger generations in to implement these new ideas and reward them appropriately so that they can survive and pay their student loans at the same time without sacrificing the work they love.


Museum professionals love what they do but need to be compensated appropriately. This includes salary, benefits, and a supportive culture. Stop taking advantage of people who love their job to over work and underpay them. Especially now that masters degrees are practically required to enter the field in a full time position, many of us have debt and with the current levels of compensation, it is very hard to get ahead and have a high quality of life.

I know it’s depressing, but we’ll work towards solutions, I promise. More soon!

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