public history jobs

The public history job market is so bad right now that a job was recently posted that admitted “salary is minimum.”

It’s so bad that a job was recently posted offering a yearly salary of $14,000.

If our field can’t support a trained professional for much more than the minimum wage, how sustainable is it?  We’re heading for a fall, folks.  Both federal and foundation funding is down (except for the IMLS–thanks, Mrs. Bush).  Our traditional volunteer base is dying.  Recent studies indicate that a majority of nonprofit executive directors are planning to leave in the next 10-15 years, and a majority of young people working at nonprofits are planning to leave the sector.    We’re going to see a wave of local history museum closings, and we’re going to see it soon, unless we tackle some major structural issues around funding, staffing, consolidation and sustainability.


The Oberlin College Archives are looking for a new archivist. If you are awesome, as all my readers are, and have a history degree plus an MLS (and maybe a CA), you should apply. Oberlin’s Mudd Library is one of my favorite places in the universe, and you would be able to work on the fourth floor there! managing terrific collections on American history! Living in a charming small town quite near a big city! Also in the near future you would get to help me research my book on Grahamites in the Midwest! I can’t stress enough how wonderful this would be for the right person. Go forth and apply.

Happy New Year!  The following would be the best job ever for a rollergirl/librarian type.

Director/Curator Lincoln, Nebraska
National Museum of Roller Skating
• Define Needs – The Director shall define the needs and limits of the Museum collections, provide for an active collections acquisition program and recommend to the Board of Trustees such items to be disposed of/deaccessioned.
• Collection Management – The Director shall provide for the professional management of the Museum collections, including record keeping, insurance, preservation, conservation and restoration. The Director shall be responsible
for acknowledgement and registration of acquisitions and donations; shall provide for the proper use of collections in exhibits, traveling exhibits, loans or other purposes consistent with the maintenance of professional standards of
collections care; maintain safe storage of paper documents and other items not currently on exhibit.
• Exhibits – The Director shall insure adequate rotation and creation of attractive and interesting displays, using appropriate themes and decorative ideas to integrate artifacts; keeping show cases clean and in good repair;
maintaining safe storage of paper documents and other items not currently on display. The Director shall be responsible for supervising public and private tours of the Museum exhibits.
• Archives – Responsible for proper storage of documents, allowing for easy retrieval and access for research; maintaining archives in an orderly manner for use by staff and others who are granted access.
• Publicity – The Director shall plan and perform various public relations work on behalf of the Museum and be responsible for writing roller skating history articles for major roller skating publications: RSB, USA Roller Sports The Magazine, Rinksider, etc., respond to media inquiries for roller skating history information. Private requests for research, not falling in the institutional category, can be completed at a cost of $50 per hour, subject to available
time and further negotiation of price.
• Hall of Fame – The Director will serve as research consultant for the USARS and RSA Halls of Fame and other honorary awards.
• Budget – In consultation with the Museum’s Secretary/Treasurer, the Director shall develop the annual operating budget. In addition, the Director shall be responsible for informing the Trustees of the Museum’s financial status
on a regular basis, denoting sources of revenue and explanation of expenses.
• Fund Raising – The Director shall be responsible for donor solicitations as directed by the Board of Trustees; coordination of annual raffle held in connection with the rink operators’ convention; and contacting past donors
for renewal or an improvement of their museum contributions. The Director shall identify, prepare and submit grant requests to foundations, corporations and governmental agencies for such purposes as authorized by the Board of
• Communications – Responsible for preparation, four times annually, of the Museum newsletter Historical Roller Skating Overview, to maintain contact and enthusiasm for Museum projects among members and potential contributors.
Responsible for updating and enhancing website.
• Trustees Meetings – In consultation with the President of the Board of Trustees, the Director shall arrange for the holding of an annual meeting, and other meetings as required, preparing and publishing the agenda and other
meeting notices prior to the meeting in keeping with the By-Laws.
• Others – The Director is responsible for keeping the Board of Trustees fully informed on subjects not delineated above which may require their decisions and shall report results to the Trustees when implementing these decisions.
• College degree preferred, preferably in a related field
• Experience preferred, but not necessary
• Strong communication skills: written, oral and computer
• Creative ability to package concepts and understand client needs
• Knowledge of roller sports helpful
• Relocation to Lincoln, NE required
Salary: Commensurate with qualification and experience, excellent benefits package.
Availability: Immediately
Application Deadline: Receiving applications until candidate is selected.
Application Procedure: To apply, submit a letter of application, current resume, salary requirements and three references by mail or email to:
Richard J. Hawkins
4730 South Street
Lincoln, NE 68506
Fax: 402-483-0324

I’ve put up a page with links to job sites for public history, museums, and regional and Minnesota nonprofits, for my own reference as well as yours.

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