In the treasure trove of the US National Park Service administrative history resources which highlight the thinking behind the management processes and development of the organisation I have recently stumbled across a set of podcasts which were originally produced as part of an oral history project with the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR).
The interviews with retired Rangers and other NPS staff provide fascinating glimpses into personal histories intimately tied into the Service’s activities and more tellingly, ethos, ideas and philosophy – and where individuals see their role in the wider development trajectory for the organisation as a whole. The podcast episodes range across a broad range of management activity in the Parks which is public-facing, but also takes in the work behind the scenes to support that front line activity and lead to overall Park and Service development and ideas of what stewardship means corporately and individuallt.
The episodes are a real pleasure to listen to – not least because one of them touches on my own particular obsession around ‘official guides’ to sites, considering the history of NPS publications and site brochure design principles.
The pandemic has affected the jobs market and career paths for many already working in the heritage sector, whether as a result of organisational crisis or operational response to Covid resulting in furlough, job reduction or loss, and the need for reskilling and resilience building on a personal and professional level to manage a way through a year of uncertainty.
There is a further group of aspiring workers trying to enter or develop their career within the sector: 2 years’ worth of students who graduated in 2020 and those about to graduate in the summer or autumn of 2021 are also searching for opportunities and advice. I’m currently working on an updated version of the Heritage Careers Guide published in late 2019 in association with BEFS and The Heritage Alliance, and am reviewing the best places to go to for advice and jobs listings, as well as gathering some excellent resources which have appeared over the past year as a result of Covid-19 to support professional development and up- or re-skilling. I’m also cognisant of the aims of organisations such as Fair Museum Jobs to support a healthy, equal and supportive employment environment in the sector, and am hoping to include some commentary from the FMJ team on what to look for in an employer.
In the meantime before the new guide appears here, some useful updated advice and resources have been made available on the Museums Association website, and UCL’s Careers Service has produced a specific podcast recording of a panel discussion with really useful perspectives on jobs and recruitment in the Museums, Arts & Cultural Heritage sector (see Episode 2).
I have been working for a little while on compiling useful links for finding a job in the heritage sector based on recommendations made to students over many years. The final result has been spruced up into a small booklet, now available to download. Hopefully it will prove useful to anybody wanting a ‘go to’ list of places to start job hunting. It isn’t exhaustive, and will be further developed over time in association with BEFS and the Heritage Alliance.