What Does an Archivist Do?
Archivists organize, research and review different historical records to decide how significant or valuable they are to history. They often work with an abundance of document types like maps, manuscripts and photographs. Archivists may also work with digital files like websites, sound recordings and films to determine their historical relevance. They typically provide these items to museums with descriptions of the artifact or document and guidelines for preserving and displaying it in their establishment.
Some Archivists find ways to teach the communities about the historical documents or artifacts they discover by instructing sessions, showcasing their items at exhibits or presenting on certain documents or artifacts for community outreach programs.
Archivist Skills and Qualifications
Necessary skills to be a great Archivist include the following:
- Analytical skills: An Archivist decides which material should be preserved, thus, they need to be able to determine the importance, origin and history of the material they work with.
- Computer skills: An Archivist needs to access databases and other electronic management tools, so computer skills are vital.
- Good communication: Archivists interact with the public, helping them retrieve information or providing lectures and presentations, being able to communicate well is important.
- Organizational ability: Archivists need to store documents and records in a way that’s easily retrievable, developing logical systems for both themselves and the public to use.
- Technical skills: Much historical material needs to be analyzed and preserved, this means using the right chemicals and techniques according to the type of material such as a painting, documents, pottery or fabrics.
Archivist Salary Expectations
The average Archivist salary in the U.S. is $50,395 per year. This salary estimate is based on 219 salaries submitted to Indeed by employees, users or collected from job advertisements over the past 36 months and is for an Archivist with less than one year of job experience.
Archivist Education and Training Requirements
Archivists need a bachelor’s degree in law, library science, history, archival science or a related field, followed by a graduate diploma or degree. Certain colleges or universities may require a Ph.D.
For a voluntary certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists, a candidate needs a master’s degree and at least one year of experience. Certification makes a person more marketable.
Archivist Experience Requirements
Employers usually look for candidates with 1+ years of experience. Experience as an Archivist can be gained by working part-time, as an intern or even by volunteering as an assistant or researcher while studying. Good experience in collection management, exhibit design, research or restoration may be necessary to qualify for a position.
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