The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The State Heritage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Louvre in Paris, the National Museum of China, and Vatican Museums in Rome are the top five largest museums in the world. These prestigious institutions welcome millions of visitors each year, and, along with other museums around the world, generate billions of dollars in revenue annually. In the U.S. alone, around 32 million people visit art museums every year (as of spring 2015), generating nearly $15 billion in revenues annually.
Although most U.S. museums are non-profit, in many ways these booming enterprises must operate like any other business. For this reason, museums need strong leaders to handle day-to-day operations, budgeting, marketing, public relations, managing teams, and more. To meet this need, a number of business schools now offer an MBA in Museum Leadership and Management that prepares graduates to meet the demands of this increasingly complex industry.
Students in the program will first complete the traditional MBA core, which typically consists of courses such as Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting, Marketing, Managerial Statistics, Global Economic Environment, and Operations Management. Students will then move on the concentration area, which consists of several required courses and several electives. Required courses and electives will vary slightly by school, but the following titles will give you a good idea of what to expect:
- Curatorship and Collections Management
- Curatorship and Management of Archives and Paper Collections
- Historical Archeology and the Public
- Historical Preservation Theory and Practice
- Historical Properties
- Introduction to Museums: History and Professional Practice
- Issues in American Material Culture
- Museum Education and Interpretation
- The Digital Museum
An internship is often a required component of MBA programs, and students will also have access to experiential learning and study abroad opportunities.
In addition to preparing graduates to work in management at museums, the concentration in Museum Leadership and Management prepares graduates to work in historical organizations and other associated enterprises.
When it comes to earnings, salaries will depend on the size of the institution or organization, geographic location, type if museum, and many other factors. However, as a member of the management occupations category, on average, museum managers can expect to earn $102,590 annually (median), which, in 2017, was the highest wage of all the major occupational groups according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also has some good news about employment growth for this category. Employment of management occupations is projected to grow 8% from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations, which will result in about 807,300 new jobs.
Employment growth is expected to be driven by the formation of new organizations and expansion of existing ones, which should require more workers to manage these operations.
If you want to go where the jobs are, check out these metropolitan areas:
- New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
- Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
- San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA
- Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
- Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD
- Philadelphia, PA
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
- Columbus, OH
- Kansas City, MO-KS
- St. Louis, MO-IL
Looking for Museum Leadership and Management MBA programs? Find a School here.
"Management Occupations." Division of Occupational Employment Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 Apr. 2018. Web. 01 July 2018.
"MBA Concentration in Museum Leadership." Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics. University of Delaware, 2018. Web. 01 July 2018.
"Museums – Statistics & Facts." Statista.com. Statista: The Statistics Portal, 2018. Web. 01 July 2018.
"The Largest Art Museums in the World." WorldAtlas.com. WorldAtlas.com, 2018. Web. 01 July 2018.