Museum and Art Gallery Technical Workers

Occupation:Museum and Art Gallery Technicians
Category:Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport

About the job

Nature of work:

This group includes workers who classify and catalogue museum artifacts and gallery works of art, construct and install exhibits and displays, restore, maintain and store museum and gallery collections, frame artwork, and perform other functions in support of curatorial and conservation activities. They are employed in museums and galleries. Picture framers and taxidermists may also be employed in retail settings or may be self-employed. This group also includes museum and other interpreters who conduct guided tours. They are employed by art galleries, museums, parks, aquariums, zoos, interpretive centres, botanical gardens, cultural centres, nature sanctuaries, historic and heritage sites, and other locations.

Job duties:
The following is a summary of main duties for some jobs in this group:
  • Conservation and restoration technicians assist in the restoration and conservation of artifacts under the direction of a conservator.
  • Curatorial assistants assist in the research, handling and storage of artifacts.
  • Museum interpreters conduct tours of museums, gallery exhibitions and historical, heritage and other sites, answer inquiries, and provide information concerning exhibits or sites.
  • Museum extension officers assist with the planning and development of travelling exhibitions and special events.
  • Museology technicians protect and care for cultural artifacts and collections during exhibitions, while in transit and in storage.
  • Museum registrars and cataloguers classify and assign registration numbers to artifacts and supervise inventory control.
  • Preparators construct displays and dioramas, build models, install artifacts in displays and prepare artifacts for storage and shipping.
  • Picture framers fabricate custom frames, measure and cut mats, mat enhancements and glass, and mount paintings, photographs and other art work.
  • Taxidermists prepare and mount skins of birds or animals for preservation, scientific or display purposes.

Technical museum and gallery workers may specialize in a specific type of collection.

Sample job titles:
  • archaeological technician
  • art gallery registrar
  • conservation and restoration technician
  • curatorial assistant
  • museum cataloguer
  • museum interpreter
  • museum registrar
  • museum technician
  • park interpreter
  • taxidermist

For this type of work, you should be patient and organized, and have good research skills. Both oral and written communication skills are essential. You must be able to work unsupervised with museum users, and cooperate with co-workers. Good computer skills and knowledge about audiovisual equipment are strongly recommended.

Job requirements:
  • Registrars, cataloguers and interpreters may require a university degree in a field related to museum and gallery work.
  • For other jobs in this group, completion of a college program in museum technology or conservation technology or other technical or on-the-job training programs related to the work are required.
Other considerations:

Work in these jobs is often seasonal as many people become unemployed in the fall. Museum interpreters may require specific scientific or academic credentials for employment by some museums, nature centres or other sites.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Museum and Art Gallery Technicians most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work). With employment conditions being seasonal in nature, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year are fairly common.

The median employment income for 11% of Museum and Art Gallery Technicians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $45,980. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Museum and Art Gallery Technical Workers295Moderate growth80Moderate
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $14.00
Maximum: $27.69
Minimum: $3,633
Median: $10,693
Maximum: $37,649
Occupations in Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport11,000Moderate growth735Moderate
Minimum: $10.81
Median: $16.00
Maximum: $31.00
Minimum: $945
Median: $11,712
Maximum: $60,447
Museum and Art Gallery Technical WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
Percent employed full-time76%59%
Percent self-employed9%33%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentMuseum and Art Gallery Technical WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton22%$18,10113%$32,974
Annapolis Valley10%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeMuseum and Art Gallery Technical WorkersCompared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
% Employed% Employed
Median Age2838
GenderMuseum and Art Gallery Technical WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
% Employed% Employed
EducationMuseum and Art Gallery Technical WorkersCompared to: All Arts, Culture, Recreation and Sport
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school5.3%x10.2%$2,298
High school42.7%$23,85326.2%$7,127
Trades certificate5.3%x3.6%$13,575
College certificate or diploma16.8%$35,01820.3%$20,158
University certificate or diploma1.5%x1.7%$20,801
Bachelor's degree23.7%$35,53727.5%$19,705
University advanced certificate or diploma2.3%x1.5%$18,274
Master's degreeN/A$36,1578.0%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$11,741
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
PO Box 2262
Halifax, NS B3J 3C8
Tel: (902) 424-5280
Fax: (902) 424-7359
Nova Scotia Museum
1747 Summer Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3A6
Tel: (902) 424-7353
Canadian Museums Association
280 Metcalfe Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, ON K2P 1R7
Tel: (613) 567-0099
Fax: (613) 233-5438

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Art teacher education
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to teach art and art appreciation programs at various educational levels.
See all institutions providing this program+
NSCAD University
5163 Duke Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3J6
(902) 444-9600
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.