Jobs for archivists

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Jobs for archivists

Postby dojogirl » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:42 pm

I am a psychology professor looking to get out of both teaching and psychology. After 4+ years of dodging layoffs, I can't be certain I'll even have a job at the end of the year. So I need to change careers as soon as possible, preferably to something more suited to my interests (I'm pretty burned out on teaching).

After working through a few career tests, I've discovered what I really want to do is become an archivist. I've been archival-type stuff most of my life -- collecting photos, tapes, movies. I was recording TV shows on audio before VCRs became widely available. I love collecting artifacts from the relatively recent past (1950s - 1970s primarily), and have to keep myself from buying too much stuff on eBay. My favorite website is InternetArchive.org. When I was a kid I would spend hours at various libraries digging out information about the quiz show scandals, the origins of the Ferris Wheel, various actors, etc. Hunting down articles or photos or other types of media is the greatest fun for me.

I'll continue to enjoy this as a hobby, but since I do need to find a new career, I was wondering if there was a way to make a living at this. I've looked at some of the archivist websites, and they all seem to say that you need a graduate degree in library science and/or archival studies. Unfortunately, this is not an option for me. I'm 56, I already have an advanced degree in psychology that I'm still paying off, and I just can't afford to go back to school right now.

Is there a way to get into this field without going back to school for yet another degree?
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Re: Jobs for archivists

Postby SquarePeg » Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:26 pm

You mention that you visited various websites. I wonder if you've met F2F with any folks at museums. You could start locally or plan a visit to a few that specialize in the kind of artifacts that interest you the most. You might just make a great connection.

Welcome to the board!
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Re: Jobs for archivists

Postby dojogirl » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:48 am

I'm in Sacramento, so the California History Museum would probably be my best bet. Years ago I did consider changing my major to museum studies. I'll check it out!

Do businesses ever hire archivists?
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Re: Jobs for archivists

Postby SquarePeg » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:10 pm

I think my first employer did some sort of archival because the owners were very interested in patenting their product, and they also wanted to go down in history as being the inventors of this revolutionary "thing". They even had a small area set aside in the building for their museum. This was a company that was doing nearly all R&D, some service and nearly no production.

The company president eventually published an autobiographical account of the birth of the company and the product.

For someone like you, it might be a good idea to make friendships with as many megalomaniacs as you can find. Someone who's determined to make a mark for himself or herself is bound to want to be surrounded by as much historical validation as possible. ;)
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Re: Jobs for archivists

Postby dojogirl » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:37 am

Silicon Valley isn't that far from here -- I could probably find a few there... :wink:
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Re: Jobs for archivists

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:59 pm

If you're willing to look as far south as Silicone Valley, what about the Bay Area? Lawrence Hall of Science, U C Berkeley, U C Davis, The San Francisco Exploratorium, The San Francisco Academy of Sciences, The Oakland Museum, Lindsey Wildlife Museum (Walnut Creek) The Space Museum, plus all the colleges and universities within commuting distance? I wonder if there are any courses you could take on line or at junior colleges (cheap) that would give you leads and help plump up your resume - not a whole new degree - you already have a degree, just a class or two.

By the way, these are just ideas. I'm way out of my element here. You decide if they have any merit.
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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