Art Technician (Museums & Galleries)
Art technicians that work with museums and galleries are responsible for building, repairing and maintaining exhibition spaces, and supporting the installation of artwork. The job is varied and can include: installing or de-installing exhibitions; packing, unpacking and moving fragile and valuable objects; maintaining exhibition spaces; looking after equipment stores and ordering new stock; making specialist mounts for objects going on display; and setting up and maintaining lighting and/or audio-visual equipment for exhibitions or events. Technicians will work alongside conservators, curators, art handlers, and exhibition designers.
The job will vary according to the space in which you are working. In a larger museum or art gallery there may be a team of technicians with specialists in a particular area such as audio-visual equipment or outdoor display. In a smaller institution one technician may be expected to work across multiple areas. Additionally, whilst some large institutions may employ technicians on a permanent basis, many of the roles will be freelance and all are likely to involve some evening or weekend work.
What skills do you need?
The skills that technicians need vary depending on the role but might include:
Being physically fit and able to work at heights or in confined spaces
Knowledge and experience of using audio-visual equipment
Basic electrical and carpentry skills
Clean driving licence
The ability to work to your own initiative as well as in a team
Good at problem solving
Good time management skills. Ability to manage competing workloads and remain calm under pressure
First aid qualification
Strong communication and interpersonal skills
You should also have a genuine interest in working in a museum or gallery.
How do you become a technician?
There is no set career route. Technicians need a wide range of skills and may come into this work as a second job after working in a range of areas, including: IT, carpentry and joinery, electrical work, engineering, technical theatre, shop fitting, or working as a technician in an art university.
However, useful qualifications may include: having a C or above in GCSE English and maths and a qualification in a related subject such as electrical installation, computing, electrical engineering, technical theatre, digital media, carpentry and joinery etc. Some employers may also prefer that you have a degree in a subject related to the museum or gallery collection. Experience gained from working on sound, lighting, set building or using audio-visual equipment to support music or theatre events at school or college could be very useful.
Look up other roles in the visual arts including: