Automotive Museum Director

Duties: Formulate policies, plan budgets, and raise funds for the automotive museum
Alternate Title(s): None
Salary Range: $50,000 to $83,750+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s): All locations throughout the country have job possibilities for experienced Automotive
Museum Directors
Education or Training--B.A. or B.S. with emphasis on museum studies, or master's degree in museum studies or related field from a recognized four-year college or university; several years of professional automotive museum experience
Experience--Experience or knowledge of automobile history, auto mechanics, motor racing, and/or related subjects
Special Skills and Personality Traits--Creativity; attention to detail; good people skills; good management and computer skills

Automotive Museum Director of Larger Museum
Automotive Museum Director
Automotive Museum Technician

Position Description
Automotive Museum Directors formulate policies, plan budgets, and raise funds for their museums. They coordinate the activities of their staff to establish and maintain collections.       
Automotive Museum Directors search for, buy, appraise, analyze, describe, arrange, catalog, restore, preserve, exhibit, maintain, and store valuable automobiles that can be used by researchers or for exhibitions, publications, broadcasting, and other educational programs. They plan and oversee the arrangement, cataloging, and exhibition of the car collections and, along with technicians, maintain the collections.       
Automotive Museum Directors may coordinate educational and public outreach programs, such as tours, workshops, lectures, and classes, and may work with the boards of institutions to administer plans and policies. They also may research topics or items relevant to their automotive collections.      
The director works closely with others to develop the annual budget and long-range financial, educational, and philosophical goals, including identifying, soliciting, and securing funding from individuals, corporations, foundations, public sector, and develop fund-raising programs.

Average annual earnings of Automotive Museum Directors is about $63,580, ranging from a low of less than $50,000 to a high of more than $83,750. Earnings of Automotive Museum Directors vary considerably by type and size of museum.

Employment Prospects
Competition for jobs as Automotive Museum Directors is expected to be keen as qualified applicants far outnumber job openings, since there are relatively few car museums in the United States. College graduates with highly specialized training or experience in the automotive world, along with extensive computer skills and perhaps an advanced degree, should have the best opportunities for jobs.      
Automotive Museum Directors need to have substantial work experience in automotive collection management, exhibit design, restoration, and database management skills to obtain a position.      
Although an Automotive Museum Director's job is attractive to many who have the necessary training and subject knowledge, there are only a few openings at any one time. Consequently, candidates may have to work part time, or even as a volunteer director at an automotive museum after completing their formal education.

Advancement Prospects
Automotive Museum Directors in smaller museums may move into positions in larger museums. Individual research and publication are important if you are interested in working at larger museums.

Education and Training
As their role has evolved, Automotive Museum Directors increasingly need business backgrounds in addition to an understanding of the automobiles in their collections and a master's degree in an appropriate field. Since Automotive Museum Directors may have administrative and managerial responsibilities, courses in business administration, public relations, marketing, and fund-raising also are recommended.       
Substantial work experience in collection management, exhibit design, or restoration, as well as database management skills, is necessary for permanent status. In smaller automotive museums, museum director positions may be available to individuals with a bachelor's degree. For some positions, an internship at an automotive museum supplemented by courses in museum practices is necessary.      
Directors also need good computer skills and the ability to work with electronic databases, and they should also be familiar with digital imaging and scanning technology.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Automotive Museum Directors usually need experience in the automotive field and previous museum work experience, particularly in exhibit design. Being personable and able to work well with others is a plus, and computer experience is absolutely required. Directors also must be flexible because of the wide variety of their duties; they should have good manual dexterity so they can build exhibits or restore cars. Leadership ability and business skills are also important for Automotive Museum Directors, while marketing skills are valuable for increasing museum attendance and fund-raising.

Unions and Associations
Automotive Museum Directors may belong to a number of museum-related organizations, such as the American Association of Museums.

Tips for Entry
1. Visit the Web site of the American Association of Museums to check for job ads.
2. Unpaid voluntary work or student internships in automotive museums can provide experience, which may lead to paid work. Approach the individual automotive museum with a detailed résumé.
3. Send your résumé to every automotive museum in the country to get into position for an opening. 


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