museum attendant

How to become museum attendant

What does a museum attendant do?

A museum or art gallery attendant patrols the public areas of the site, checking on security and making sure the collections on display are in good order.

An important part of the job is dealing with visitors and answering queries. Attendants may also work in the cloakroom, dealing with visitors’ coats and bags, or in the reception area, welcoming groups and selling catalogues and souvenirs.

Attendants assist curators and other senior staff in moving and changing displays and exhibitions.

In a smaller museum or gallery, museum attendants are likely to have some clerical, paperwork, sales, technical or cleaning duties.

What's the working environment like for a museum attendant?

Museum or gallery attendants tend to work 37 hours a week on a rota which includes weekend opening hours. Part-time work may be available.

The work is usually indoors, in warm and light conditions. It may involve standing and walking for long periods.

It may be necessary to wear a uniform, especially in a larger museum or gallery.

What does it take to become a museum attendant?

As a museum attendant you should:

  • be able to communicate well with visitors and colleagues
  • be responsible and aware of security issues
  • be able to remain alert over long periods of time
  • be able to react quickly in an emergency
  • be observant, keeping an eye on the collection and the visitors
  • have an interest in the museum or gallery.

Though there are no set requirements to become a museum attendant, you will be expected to have a good standard of education, particularly in English and Maths. Museums will expect you to take great interest in their work and collections given that you will be at the heart of operations when it comes ensuring the security of visitors. 

It is possible to become a museum attendant through an apprenticeship and you'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

You'll be at a particular advantage if you've done some volunteering work or have evidence to show your interest in museums and galleries. 

Museum attendant career opportunities

The main employers are national museums and galleries which are usually in cities, local authority museums and galleries, university museums and independent museums.

There is a great deal of competition for vacancies, despite the low pay and weekend working. At the moment, very few attendants go on to become managers.

Further information

If you would like to learn more about becoming a museum attendant that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Museums Association
24 Calvin Street
E1 6NW
Tel: 020 7426 6955

National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS)
8 Guilford Street
Tel: 020 7430 0730

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Creative and Cultural Skills
11 Southwark Street


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