Are you more 1066 than 1966? Did you struggle to get over the dissolution of the monasteries? Have you always envied Tony Robinson? We may have some jobs for you…
Whether you’re a recent history graduate, or just someone who’s obsessed with antiquity, finding a job that capitalises on your love for history could be the key to happiness in your career.
Want to make the past your present? Here are some of the top jobs for history lovers:
Sometimes the best careers come buried under the surface. Mainly, next to ancient bits of bone and forgotten fragments of pottery.
For those with a historical background, Archaeology can be one of the most rewarding career paths. Archaeologists take part in digs to uncover historical artefacts and remains, which may help us learn about the past. It involves investigation, excavation, exploration, and lots of other words that end with the suffix ‘ation’. Oh, and carbon dating. That too.
It’s also possibly the only career where seeing dead people is actually a good thing…
Will I need a degree? Yes. Most Archaeologists also have some form of postgraduate training too.
Perfect for: People who like to get their hands dirty.
Avoid if: You don’t like snakes. Why is it always snakes…?*
Archivists are tasked with collecting, managing and maintaining materials which may hold historic importance. These could include anything from electronic records through to hard copies of books or documents, maps, pictures and films.
A number of different organisations need to preserve important records. And whether working for the local government, an academic institution or a museum, the ability to keep documents clear, concise, protected and develop an easy-to-use indexing system all hold paramount importance.
Essentially, Archivists are much like Librarians. They just often deal with much older, more delicate and niche material. They also often wear white gloves, if you like that kind of thing.
Will I need a degree? Yes. Many positions will also require you to have a postgraduate qualification accredited by the Archives and Records Association (ARA).
Perfect for: People with a passion for historical preservation.
Avoid if: Your friends won’t let you borrow their things.
Film Production Assistant
If you’re looking for something slightly more glamourous to fit your historical career aspirations (sorry archivists), you might want to work in the film industry.
Production Assistants or Consultants help ensure that any historical references are factual, whether it be checking scripts to confirm the accuracy of dates or language used, or checking that all costumes and make-up is period-appropriate, and that sets are dressed correctly without any historical inaccuracies.
Aside from a keen interest in history, this is a great career choice for those who place precedence on attention to detail. Because nothing quite ruins a movie about Ancient Rome like the site of two gladiators duelling with their Casios on display…
Will I need a degree? A degree may be expected for top positons, but may not be required for internships or assistant positions within smaller productions.
Perfect for: People who are great at spotting anachronisms in TV and film.
Avoid if: You take the words of Philippa Gregory as gospel.
As the saying goes, history is written by the winners… and it’s filed for ease of use by librarians.
Ok, so the last part isn’t as well known, but it’s certainly true. Just think of all the historical works which have literally changed our perception of the past: the Domesday Book, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, The Horrible History Series, Biggles Learns to Fly, to name but a few.
Throughout the ages, Librarians have effectively been the custodians of knowledge, passing on their wisdom to new generations and civilisations. Without them our view of history would be very different. And although today they tend to be slightly less celebrated than their predecessors in Alexandria or Ephesus, the work really hasn’t changed that much over the years.
To be successful in this position, good customer service and excellent organisational skills are musts. The ability to ‘shhh’ people on demand is also a distinct advantage.
Will I need a degree? Some librarians have a degree in Librarianship, but this is not a pre-requisite. One common career path is to start as a Library Assistant, and work your way up.
Perfect for: People who like to be surrounded by historical books.
Avoid if: You have no form of volume control.
Although a relatively small and specialised field of work, historical Researchers use a wide range of different sources to help them further develop our understanding of particular areas.
Researchers may use their skills to help inform new exhibits at museums, help provide new theories about important historical periods or events, or even be on hand at archaeological digs to provide more information on finds.
Many researchers also work as authors, teachers or lecturers to help fund their research. So if you’re looking for a career that really puts your love of reading and researching to the test, this is the perfect position for you.
Will I need a degree? Most Researchers will have a postgraduate degree.
Perfect for: People who love learning about the past.
Avoid if: You’d rather just look it up on Wikipedia.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It can, however, be seen in a day. All you need is a good tour guide (also, possibly, some form of open-top bus).
As a Tour Guide you could find work anywhere from a busy public museum, to giving guided tours of some of the world’s biggest landmarks. Regardless of setting, it’s their job to provide their guests with historical facts and figures, and keep the audience engaged at all times throughout the tour.
Aside from being an excellent public speaker, successful tour guides need great local and/or historical knowledge, and a good memory for facts and figures. If you always forget about the 5th of November, this may not be the career for you. There’s even a rhyme and everything.
Will I need a degree? No. Many tour guides are self-employed, and a keen interest in history and great communication skills will be enough to get you started in those cases.
Perfect for: People who like hanging out at castles.
Avoid if: You get lost in the Channel Tunnel/Your geographical knowledge is limited to Google Maps/You’re Karl Pilkington/all of the above
Honourable mentions: History Teacher, Lecturer, Museum Curator, Paralegal, Dan Snow.
Ready to embark on a career in history? Start searching now.
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