Heritage managers are responsible for conserving, managing and developing access to heritage sites such as historic buildings, landscapes, museums and ancient monuments.
It is an evolving career with a broad remit of responsibilities, ranging from the preservation of important sites, through to developing plans to maintain a community’s culture or a region’s industrial legacy.
A management role in the heritage sector is all about balancing the preservation of the site while also ensuring the project is generating income and is sustainable from a business perspective.
Employers of Heritage Managers
Public sector employers include local authorities, where heritage may be associated with a number of departments including:
- exhibition organization;
- managing budgets and strategic planning;
- securing funding from external sources;
- generating income from commercial activities, such as catering and hiring out the venue for events and film shoots;
- running a commercial shop;
- administering the collection of entrance fees, donations, sponsorship and memberships;
- organizing and monitoring building, renovation and conservation work;
- recruiting, supervising and motivating staff and volunteers;
- dealing with the media to promote the site;
- using IT to generate market share, raise visitor numbers, etc.;
- developing new ways to present the attraction or collection to maximize visitors’ enjoyment and understanding;
- ensuring high standards of customer service and health and safety for visitors to the site;
- writing reports, policies and procedures, marketing documents and interpretive material;
- project management;
- relating at a senior level to local authorities or national bodies within whose remit the site may fall;
- liaising with external agencies such as funding bodies, professional associations, other heritage organizations, tourist bodies and regional development agencies, perhaps to deliver co-funded and joint-venture projects;
- developing outreach activities in the local community;
- keeping up to date with developments in the field and with historical research into topics related to the attraction;
- dealing with enquiries from the public and researchers;
- designing and analyzing visitor feedback surveys.
This area of work is open to all graduates but the following subjects may be particularly useful for the career:
- countryside or estate management;
- heritage or museum studies;
- history or history of art;
- library and information services;
- marketing or other business-related subjects, especially finance.
- the ability to deal effectively with a range of people;
- excellent written communication skills;
- a genuine interest in and understanding of the heritage sector, plus awareness of related current political agendas;
- negotiating and persuading skills;
- administrative and budgeting skills;
- digital media and IT skills;
- commercial awareness and customer service skills;
- an enthusiasm for learning;
- the ability to use your initiative and work well in a team;
- experience of partnership and collaborative working;
- flexibility and creativity;
- time management skills;
- project management and leadership qualities.