Inside Historian Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises


"Eager Guests...
I have been surprised that most people, young and old, are interested in their nation's history. Some people have just never had interesting teachers to explain things to them in a way that makes them understand and want to learn more." (Historic Interpreter; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, female
School: Studied History at University Of North Alabama in Alabama; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Politics In Academics...
I was surprised by the amount of politics present in history. The university and supervisor that a student has worked with can really affect that student's career due to the professor's research philosophy and reputation." (Historian; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, male
School: Studied History at Kentucky Christian University in Kentucky; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Variety Of Work Duties...
There is always a lot of fundraising to be done, which often takes away from the research on exhibits, etc. I was surprised somewhat that even large museums have this issue often, and there are entire jobs dedicated to procuring funding. Working in a smaller museum, it was interesting to me that job titles don't really matter. In a museum where there are only two full time staff, everyone does a little bit of everything." (Museum Docent; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Public History at NC State University in North Carolina; completed Master degree in 2012


"What has surprised me the most is how quick people are to discredit history. Record Keepers are around to provide concrete evidence that something has in fact happened, so that it cannot be ignored in the future. Our job is to offer a window into the past for the next generation. Without insight into our lives, future generations will be quick to ignore past mistakes and make them again." (Historical Record Keeper; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied History at SUNY Oneonta in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

Career Tips


"Getting Experience...
If you want to be successful, it is critical to get some experience in internships and work-study before you graduate. This will allow you to understand what you want to do and also experience some aspects of real career work." (Museum Docent; 2014)


"Seek Advancement...
I would suggest gaining as much experience as you can beginning freshmen year of college. Look for internships, go to local museums and volunteer, work as historical interpreters with local history chapters." (Historic Interpreter; 2014)


"Learn To Write Well...
Take advantage of all the training programs your university has to offer, especially writing classes for getting published. The better you write, the more you are able to publish, and you will have access to better opportunities." (Historian; 2014)