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Exhibitions Manager: Job Duties, Requirements and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an exhibitions manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

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An exhibition manager is in charge of showcasing projects and events on behalf of an institution or organization. They oversee entire exhibits or events from the initial planning process to receiving shipments and setting items out for display. Although they can work in a number of industries and therefore the education required varies, exhibition managers working in a museum generally need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

Essential Information

Exhibitions managers prepare, organize, and execute organizations' public events and projects. These professionals are skilled at conveying information visually, and they work in many settings, including museums and advertising agencies. These professionals must be highly organized and able to work with others. The education and training required for this job is dependent on the nature of the industry. For instance, museum curators or technicians, who often work with museum exhibits, typically hold bachelor's degrees in museum studies or a related field.

Required Education Varies by industry; bachelor's degree in museum's specialty area or in museum studies for museum technicians and conservators
Projected Job Growth 5% from 2014-2024 for museum technicians and conservators*
Median Salary (2015) $40,340 for museum technicians and conservators*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Job Duties of an Exhibitions Manager

Exhibitions managers work in a variety of settings, from museums to advertising agencies, to create displays that best showcase information and artifacts. From unpacking shipments to setting up artwork, these professionals manage the exhibits, lighting, information, and artifacts. Many exhibitions managers have curatorial skills and employ these in cataloguing, arranging, and caring for the objects that make up the exhibits.

Exhibitions managers also train the docents or guides necessary to assist viewers in experiencing the exhibition. This may include reviewing materials to ensure that they are accurate, as well as providing background information on artists and artworks. Exhibitions managers may also have administrative duties such as coordinating meetings with artists and preparing promotional materials.

Requirements of an Exhibitions Manager

Depending on the nature of the organization in which they work, most exhibitions managers need a college degree in museum studies or a specialized, relevant subject, such as art history, visual arts, or archaeology. In addition, many prospective exhibitions managers pursue internships at museums, zoos, or advertising firms, depending on the type of exhibitions with which they hope to work. Such experience is often valued highly by firms and companies seeking exhibitions managers, although those who seek positions with more conservation work tend to pursue master's degrees.

Salary of an Exhibition Manager

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect specific information for exhibitions managers. However, the Bureau does gather data on museum technicians and conservators, who perform duties similar to exhibitions managers (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual wage for these professionals was $40,340, with most earning between $23,200 and $72,570 per year. Those employed by the Federal Executive Branch received the highest annual salaries, with annual earnings of $53,180.

An exhibitionist manager must be highly organized and, depending on the position, should have excellent curatorial skills as well. For managers working in a museum or art gallery, they often need to train docents about an exhibit to ensure that these guides possess a thorough knowledge of the items on display.

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