A six-year-old recently applied to be Director of England’s National Railway Museum. Although he was found to be not quite qualified for this high-level position, he was hired as Director of Fun. Read his application here.
During my job search, I wrote lots and lots of cover letters. My five favorite cover letters were the fictitious ones I wrote for my five favorite creatures in the universe. If they were applying for museum education jobs, they would send the applications below. Which one would you hire?
I am an energetic, dynamic, enthusiastic professional! I love being around people and making them happy! The visitors always come first. From the moment they stepped into the museum, I would make them feel welcome. I want everyone to have a positive museum experience and come back again and again.
I enjoy working with all audiences. I am especially interested in senior citizens who may need some extra cheer in their lives or some extra help physically navigating the museum. However, I am comfortable working with all audiences, young, old, and in between.
I would bring a true social experience to the museum. I would never let any visitor feel ignored or like this place just isn’t for them. My educational programming would be highly social and interactive.
A unique qualification I bring is my degree from an accredited educational institution. Additionally, I am an avid visitor to informal learning sites myself. I have visited many national and state parks and other historic sites, including Shenandoah National Park, Catoctin Mountain, Monocacy Battlefield, Antietam, Quiet Waters, Deep Creek Lake, and more. I have experienced these amazing places as a visitor and also see great interpretive potential at all of them—opportunities to make connections with the people who visit!
I also would work well with all the people who work here. I would be very supportive of all my co-workers and help them get work done. I would really help boost morale.
I am active in community service. Every October, I participate in a charity event. I have to use the skills I am best at as well as stretch the ones that are more of a challenge to me! But I am always interested in new experiences!
I know that a museum is full of valuable, breakable objects. These must be guarded and protected from impetuous visitors who are wont to touch things without permission, break things, steal artifacts, and do all sorts of unspeakable harm. I am always vigilant, keeping an eye on every corner of the gallery. I never rest in moments when something upsetting could happen, which is basically all the time.
If someone tries to break a museum rule, rest assured that I will express my displeasure to them. Any museum gallery in which I work, I will guard as though it were my own castle. I may look sweet and innocent, but I am well prepared to defend myself if a situation escalates.
I have a keen perceptiveness that your other candidates may lack. I have street smarts. I know to think critically and not just blindly accept everything I am told. A museum plays an important role in developing visitors’ critical thinking skills and I would fit into this role well.
I would be very good at working on evaluation studies that involve stealthily watching what people are doing. I am talented at being surreptitious.
I would keep professional boundaries with my co-workers and never get too close to anyone. If anyone tries to be my friend, I will keep my distance. I am also happy to give everyone constructive criticism of their work and identify problems.
My public speaking and computer skills are impeccable. I love speaking to others, whether one-on-one or to a large crowd. I have always been told what insightful, erudite things I have to say. I have a philosophical mind and eloquent language skills, allowing me to communicate across language barriers. I am comfortable talking to anyone and everyone!
I believe that a museum is a wonderful platform for discussion, and all platforms should be used to their fullest potential. I would help visitors think deep, nuanced thoughts and recognize the shades of gray within the museum’s themes.
I am a self-taught computer genius. In fact, I am the one everyone else goes to for computer help, and I teach others new computer skills and tricks. I am very good at data entry.
I would have plenty to contribute to staff meetings. I would always enjoy sharing my thoughts with my co-workers. Also, I would never be afraid to ask for a co-worker’s help if I were uncertain what to do.
I know that a museum educator has to wear many hats. Thankfully, I am experienced at wearing a great variety of hats and wearing them well! These include the hat of a helper, an explorer, a giver of gifts, a traveler, a leader, a costumed historical figure, and a jester—all roles the museum educator must play!
I am a jack of all trades, able to adapt. I can make myself at home anywhere. I won’t hesitate to be present and help where I can, even with people I don’t know well.
I am a seasoned professional with many years of experience. I am a natural leader whom others look up to. I have served as a mentor to others. I am laid-back, straightforward, and down-to-earth, with a kind of effortless charisma.
I would be a consistent and quiet presence in a museum, always ready to help when needed. I am especially interested in the museum’s community outreach efforts. I can get along with just about everyone and have often served as a liaison between seemingly disparate communities, helping to build trust where there was none. I have worked with marginalized communities and can help the museum do so through its education programs. I have opened up new possibilities for younger generations, and I hope to do that here for the museum’s visitors. I have many years of experience in teaching others new things, from basic life skills to intangible ideas like friendship.
I am a solid candidate with a solid head on my shoulders. I thrive on camaraderie in the workplace. I prefer a good balance between being in my office and traveling. As far as traveling goes, I am comfortable with multiple modes of transportation.
I would bring fresh new ideas to the museum. Although I am young, I have spent a great deal of time in the field. My field experience has built in me an awareness of real world problems, especially as they are relevant to learning in informal outdoor environments.
I learn new things quickly, especially with the help of a capable mentor. I soak up what I am taught like a sponge. However, although I learn quickly, I do not act rashly. I take great care in decision making.
While I work best when I have a mentor, I am also independent and resourceful. I am not afraid to go new places by myself if that is what the position requires.
I am extremely curious. I always want to learn new things, and I would bring this spirit of inquisitiveness to the museum. I enjoy traveling and am well aware of the big wide world outside the door. I think this understanding is important in a multicultural world, with international tourists visiting the museum every year and participating in the educational programs.
I am especially interested in the environmental education component of the museum’s work. I believe there is great potential in the natural world outdoors for visitors to learn and explore.