What to expect from a career in Collections Conservation and Museum Management

Protecting and displaying historical artifacts is an integral part of preserving the past and keeping it relevant in modern times. Museum programs at Ontario colleges give students the skills and knowledge they need to work in museums, galleries and heritage centres, where they can do their part to bring history to the public.

If you’ve got a love for history and want to make a career out of helping to preserve it, here’s what you need to know.

Museum Courses

There are two main fields in the museum industry, though they often overlap with each other:

  • Museum Management and Curatorship. Museum management and curatorship programs teach students not only to help restore and preserve artifacts, but also how to best present them to the public. Skills learned in these programs will include exhibit preparation and educational programming. Students will also learn how to manage a museum, with valuable lessons on fundraising and achieving grants and other administrative roles.
  • Collections Conservation and Management. Collections conservation management programs focus on preserving and restoring artifacts and materials such as ceramics, glass, wood, textiles, stone and much more. There will be plenty of hands-on training conducted in labs, as well as in-class theory sessions on artifact management.

Most Ontario college museum programs have work placements as part of the curriculum, so students can gain valuable on-the-job experience and learn from professionals in the industry.

General Museum Program Requirements

For museum programs offered at the diploma or advanced diploma level, an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is required, which includes a senior English credit. Mathematics and science courses are also strongly recommended.

Some Ontario college museum programs are offered as graduate certificate programs. In this case, a diploma or degree in a related field will be required.

Museum Jobs and Salaries

Museum program graduates may find work in museums, galleries, antique shops and heritage centres, and see average starting salaries between $28,000 and $35,000 per year. Curator positions and jobs in preservation and restoration of artifacts usually see salaries between $40,000 and $60,000, or even more, depending on the place of work.

Ontario Colleges Offering Museum Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of museum programs at Ontario colleges. 

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