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 Post subject: Career
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 1998 11:49 am 

I am working on getting my masters in Public History from St. Cloud State in Minnesota. I will be wrapping up my thesis in a little over a year. I would like to get a career in the railway preservation field. I have had a long term interest in Railway preservation. I would like know roughly how difficult it will be to find a job in this field? Also what railroad museums have pai staff? Thanks!<br>Paul Kattner<br>

 Post subject: Re: Career
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 1998 3:58 am 

The traditional entry to paid staff positions for private sector museums is political and dependent on years of volunteer effort. very few of these have paid staff at all. Some larger museums are exceptions, and have a small staff. Wages are a hair above poverty level. Benefits include the opportunity to run interference between all the different ego driven emotional warring factions in an effort to get any job done. Generally you will find it easier to just do it all yourself. <p>Museums in the public sector reward those with degrees and limited practical experience - in fact, in many of them, too much knowledge of the subject matter is seen by management as a detriment because it may lead to ambition and actual programming. Wages and benefits are a bit better here, and once in the public trough, so long as you don't try too hard to actually do much, you are set for life. <p>Consulting / contracting is yet another approach. I find its advantage is the ability to avoid involvement in the deeply entrenched political and personal infighting found in most organizations. The job is usually pretty much spelled out, and the reward is pretty much spelled out. The more you charge, the better your advice will be considered. Large private and most public museums like consultants that write big, hairy, academic style reports replete with jargon and preservation buzzwords, and which spend many pages reviewing the history of whatever that they already know. Most private and smaller ones like short, businesslike, real plain engilsh words of fewer than three syllables which stress economic costs and benefits, and propose workable plans. <p>Of course, like all generalizations, these aren't worth a damn. I recommend you get any job to keep afloat, and start networking with ARM and TRAIN, and figure out what style you are most comfortable pursuing. Hungry startup situations offer greater opportunity at lesser reward, but you can build a career from scratch. <p>Best of luck, Dave<br> <br>

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