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Career Connections: Museum Exhibitions Preparator

5 minutes

(man) Many people work behind the scenes in every museum to make sure visitors have a great experience. I have one of the lesser-known positions. I am an exhibitions preparator at Columbus Museum of Art. As an exhibitions preparator, I work as a team with the curator and the exhibition designer. In any exhibition, the curator is the person who has the most understanding of the theme that's involved. This painting goes next to this painting, not because they look nice together, but because they have an historical significance together. The exhibition designer works closest with the curator, and we work together as a team. On a busy day, if we're mounting a major exhibition, you can find me coordinating the crew, everything from hanging all this artwork. You might find me on a light lift, adjusting lights, or I could be in the wood shop, building a pedestal. There's a lot going on, and we're just trying to do all that. We make sure the visitor has an experience where they understand what they're seeing. One thing I like the most is that, in the museum, everything's always changing. We really have to be ready for whatever's coming and able to adapt. To experience the different art as it comes in, it's always fascinating. I have a bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. In college, I helped with hanging exhibitions and putting things together or did exhibitions of my own work. I worked for a while, before I worked at the museum, at the Scare Factory that does haunted houses. That was kind of set building. My first job working at the museum was working for catering and bartending parties. I started to see how things worked within the museum on a show, bringing in a crew. I inquired about that and told them I had an art background. I was at an event wearing my bowtie and serving hors d'oeuvres, and I talked to the exhibition designer. He wrote my name on a piece of wood because he couldn't find paper. Within a few days, I started working part-time. When a position opened up, I became one of two full-time art preparators at the Columbus Museum of Art. A Fine Arts degree got me in the door to start doing this kind of work. One of the best things you can do is internships. If you do an internship, do a good job. Even though you're not getting paid, and it seems like you're just doing work for free, that is experience that is invaluable, and it also lets employers see how you work. If you don't end up working for that institution, if you can get a recommendation from a museum or wherever you're doing it, it's just invaluable.

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An exhibitions preparator at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, works with a curator and a designer to mount major exhibitions. This career combines fine art, history, and design. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 5 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 7
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12