Moving Towards an Equitable Museum Workforce: Reaction to Salary Doc

June 6, 2019

Last week a Google Sheet was released listing salary information museum professionals have volunteered to share with the online museum community. Since workplace equity is an important topic that is discussed and implemented in the museum field, the latest news shows the museum field is serious about improving the quality of museum professionals’ work conditions. It is wonderful to learn more about what colleagues’ salary information is like in both the United States and in countries outside of the North American continent especially since we can get an idea of what salary is like in the countries before considering taking a museum position. I decided to take a closer look at the Google Sheet for both my curiosity and for this week’s blog post to share my thoughts about the document.

In the document, there are six separate spreadsheets filled with volunteered information about salary and other resources. The first tab listed the name of museum/art organization/institution, region, museum type, or number of employees at organization, role, department, city, country, starting salary, year of starting salary, current (2019) or ending salary, hourly (H) / permanent (P) / contingent/finite term employment (C), if part-time / hourly (H) / contingent/finite term employment (C), how many hours/week, benefits?, year this salary was current (if a current salary, put 2019), years of experience in field at time of current salary listed, parental leave policy at organization (and who is eligible), and an optional section for race, gender, and preferred pronouns.

Each type of museum, gallery, and organization was listed in alphabetical order. The majority of the contributions came from across the United States but there were a number of contributions that are outside of the country. For instance, there are entries from France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, India, Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom, China, Italy, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, Russia, Hungary, Argentina, and South Africa. At the time of this blog post, there are 801 entries in the first tab of the Google Sheet and more entries in the other tabs. The second tab is information from Form 990 and there are links to 990s from twenty-four museums. According to the second tab, the 990s of institutional salaries is available publicly online and museum professionals are invited to find our institution, copy and paste the link, and add to the sheet.

 The third tab has a list of resources about salaries and salary studies. For instance, it listed articles, salary studies from museum associations, and a podcast. A few of the resources include the GEMM (Gender Equity in Museums) Salary Transparency Statement, a State-by-state US guide to pregnant and parenting workers’ rights (A Better Balance), Fair Museum Jobs, and a Podcast: Museopunks, Episode 35: Salary Transparency in Art Museums. Meanwhile the fourth tab has a data copy of information for sorting and the fifth tab is a copy of salaries experiential formatting. The copy of salaries experiential formatting is sorted by departments in alphabetical order then listed other information including the organizations, role, starting salary, current salary, contingent, and time period.  Then finally the last tab is a pivot by role and salary which seems to list hourly rates and general type of organizations the rates are associated with. After reading through the Google Sheet document, I am overwhelmed with so much information and very pleased with how much has been contributed to this document.

I appreciate the effort all contributors had in developing the sheet and volunteering specific information to share with the online community. Not many museum professionals are able to have access to the salary reports that are usually posted by museum associations such as the American Alliance of Museums since they are usually too expensive to purchase. By being able to learn from our colleagues, the museum field can move closer to a more equitable workforce. I feel that this document makes salary information more accessible for museum professionals. It is also great to see all of the relevant resources in one document, and we should continue to add any information that is useful for museum professionals especially for those looking for jobs in the museum field. I feel that it would be useful for me because I am curious about museum salaries in my area so I know what I am getting into when looking at museums. Museum professionals, both job seekers and current museum professionals, can benefit from this document because it gives information to help them with salary and benefits negotiations as well as having a better understanding of the salary and benefits.

If you have read the document, what are your reactions to this sheet?


Institutional Salaries 990:

GEMM (Gender Equity in Museums) Salary Transparency Statement:

State-by-state US guide to pregnant and parenting workers’ rights (A Better Balance):

Fair Museum Jobs:

Podcast: Museopunks, Episode 35: Salary Transparency in Art Museums:

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