Heritage manager: job description

Heritage managers conserve, manage and provide access to heritage sites such as historic buildings, landscapes, museums and ancient monuments.

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What does a heritage manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Heritage managers look after historic properties and sites, keeping them and their contents in good condition so that visitors can enjoy them.

Other typical responsibilities include:

  • managing budgets
  • financial/project planning
  • recruiting, training and supervising staff and volunteers
  • liaising with council departments, funding agencies, community organisations, voluntary and local history groups, tourist bodies and private companies
  • generating income via fundraising activities, membership, grants and retail activities
  • ensuring artefacts are cared for
  • managing restoration and conservation projects

  • developing heritage attractions to enhance and increase visitor access
  • attracting customers through marketing and using IT
  • devising outreach activities
  • writing reports
  • undertaking customer surveys and assessing the results.

Typical employers of heritage managers

  • The National Trust
  • English Heritage
  • Historic Environments Scotland
  • Independently owned historic houses and spaces

Jobs are advertised on general job sites, industry-related sites such as the Museums Association and conservation charities' sites. These organisations also share job opportunities on social media. Casual and non-specialist jobs may also be advertised in community news sources, such as newsletters and local charities' newsletters.

Qualifications and training required

Most applicants will have a degree, often in a subject such as heritage, archive or museum studies, archaeology, history, art conservation, history of art, fine art, visual art, marketing or business studies. A postgraduate qualification in heritage/museum management is beneficial and may be a requirement for some positions.

Prior relevant voluntary and/or paid work experience is essential. Look for short-term volunteering opportunities and a small number of placements with organisations such as The National Trust, English Heritage and the Churches Conservation Trust.

Key skills for heritage managers

Employers seek candidates displaying a genuine enthusiasm for, interest in and understanding of heritage work. Other essential qualities and skills include:

  • the ability to work in a team
  • good communication skills and the ability to explain complex concepts to visitors
  • commercial awareness
  • planning and project management experience.

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