Heritage managers are project managers, estate managers and exhibition officers all rolled into one. Essentially, these guys manage stately homes, UNESCO World Heritage sites and other places of historical importance.
It’s all about upholding the unique character of a heritage site, whilst simultaneously making the project sustainable from a business perspective. Heritage managers take care of everything, from the exhibitions and the gift shop to facilities management, renovation work and venue hire.
Like any project manager, heritage managers are responsible for managing and training junior staff, defining key performance indicators, building relationships with stakeholders, establishing strategic partnerships, writing reports, monitoring and managing budgets, and dealing with problems when they arise.
Heritage managers are also typically in charge of fundraising, events management, marketing, PR, exhibition planning and general administrative tasks.
Salary & benefits
Entry-level employees tend to earn between £16,000 and £24,000 per annum. As you progress, you can earn anywhere between £25,000 and £70,000 a year, depending on your academic background, experience and level of responsibility.
A heritage manager’s working hours are determined by the opening hours of the heritage site where they work.
Consequently, you might be required to work evenings, weekends and national holidays occasionally, especially during peak seasons such as school holidays.
To enter this line of work, you will need an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in any discipline. However, studying a subject such as history, history of art, museum studies, archaeology, anthropology, marketing, geography or estate management may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.
Another way to enhance your employability is to get work experience at a heritage site. This will give you fantastic hands-on experience and will enable you to build up a network of useful contacts.
Training & progression
The majority of your training will be done whilst on the job. However, you will also have the opportunity to attend in-house training sessions from time to time. Some companies may even sponsor you and support you through a part-time postgraduate course.
Organisations such as the Group for Education in Museums and the Association for Heritage Interpretation also offer training courses and professional qualifications for heritage managers who are keen to keep their skills fresh.
As you gain more experience, you will begin to take on more strategic and managerial responsibilities.
Alternatively, you may decide to specialise in a particular area, such as human resources, project management or finance.