Careers in Museums, Archives, and Heritage

Jenny Aldridge, Visitor Services Manager, National Trust (graduated 2005)

After graduating I decided that I wanted to be a visitor services manager for the National Trust; and so I downloaded role profiles and set about ticking the boxes and getting the experience needed. (Whether I have always been that logical or whether the History degree helped, I don't know!) I have been doing the job for three years, and started when I was just out of university two and a half years; I was possibly the youngest ever visitor services manager! The job is very varied, which I love, it is interesting and rewarding, and very busy. Briefly, I am responsible for managing a team of six seasonal reception staff, three permanent reception staff, one seasonal events assistant, and a part-time marketing and communications assistant. I also have to co-ordinate car park staff for busy days. I order and renew all of the signage on site in consultation with the rest of the team, I organise and run over 70 events a year (which vary from children's trails, to concerts, to have-a-go archery art exhibitions etc...). I am currently doing all of the marketing, most of the interpretation and also the internal weekly newsletter.

Victoria Sloyan, Archivist (graduated 2008)

I had a fantastic three years at Lancaster studying history and found the department and my lecturers to be very encouraging and supportive. During my third year I chose Everyday Life in Pre-Industrial England as my special subject and this introduced me to the sorts of records held in local record offices. I also got to work closely with archives for my dissertation. This made me consider a career as an archivist and after graduating I spent the next two years working in archives; one year at a local community archive and last year at the Bodleian Library on a digital archives project. Since September 2010 I have been studying at UCL for a Masters in Archives and Records Management and come September 2011 I shall be a fully qualified archivist!

Ruth Loughrey, Assistant Records Manager, Unilever (graduated 2005)

Studying History at Lancaster University provided me with the foundations I needed to pursue a career in Records Management. It taught me how to be analytical, to consider all options, opinions and to undertake independent research before drawing your own conclusions. The department offered me a great range of modules covering many areas of history which meant I had the freedom to focus on areas of history I was interested in. Without my History degree I would not have been prepared to go on and do an MSc in Information Management and Preservation which is an essential qualification for a career in Records Management. I am now Assistant Records Manager for Unilever, a large multinational company. Records Management is a varied and exciting profession working with the history of tomorrow. As a records manager I work in a team which is responsible for the effective management, access and preservation of our organisation's records. We deal with all types of records including electronic formats and film not just paper as you may expect. I also provide advice on records management issues such as the retention and destruction of records as well as undertaking physical office clear outs and information audits.

Beverley Hunt, Archivist for the Oxford English Dictionary (graduated 1998)

Studying History at Lancaster University made me realise that I wished to pursue a career with a historical emphasis. I therefore went on to study a Masters degree in Archive Administration and to embark on a career as an archivist. I have so far worked for the Open University and the Ashmolean Museum and am currently archivist for the Oxford English Dictionary. My time at Lancaster had a significant impact on my choice of profession. The diverse range of courses on offer allowed me to tailor my degree to my own interests, in particular a module on using archives for historical research. The skills learnt in this, and all my modules, were a great grounding for my Masters degree and also for my future career; skills such as clear expression, analysing information and forming coherent arguments. If I hadn't studied at Lancaster University I doubt I would be where I am today.

Janice Tulloc, Archives Development Officer, Museums, Libraries and Archives, NW (graduated 1991)

Studying History at Lancaster gave me a strong historical foundation for my professional work as an archivist, but also excellent research and writing skills, and the ability to build relationships with all types of people. These are invaluable skills for my current role, planning policy and strategy for archive services in the region. A large proportion of my time is spent in finding ways to get more people involved in archives. It's an exciting role, as archives hold something for everyone. They bring history alive through the voices of the past and are available for everyone to touch, study and examine. Now I am undertaking a national development programme to train cultural leaders of the future. This involves working in other areas of the cultural sector such as opera, orchestras and galleries, undertaking research and international exchanges. I never thought that my future would be in promoting theatre and the Disney Archive! I think above all the passion of the department for History was infectious and acquiring this passion in the value of History has stood me in good stead throughout my career to date.

Gillian Waters, Museum Learning Manager (graduated 1984)

I think one of the most useful things about studying the language and literature of a period is that it enables you to 'get inside' the minds of people in the past, understand the different zeitgeists and how language frames thought and opinion. As people often act not upon 'the facts' but upon their interpretation of received information and their innate belief systems, understanding the literature of the period is I think essential for any historian. After graduating in 1984 I trained as a History teacher and taught in East Sussex and Lancashire for ten years. Then fifteen years ago I moved into Museum Education. I am currently Learning Manager at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. My training and grounding in historical methodologies at Lancaster has stood me in good stead, and believe it or not, my battered copy of Beowulf was unearthed only a month ago to answer a colleague's query!