An archives director is a specialist in the museum or natural arts field who supervises the preservation of historical data and records. The director’s primary focus is on maintaining, storing, cataloging and displaying important works for private and public organizations, educational and civic institutions, corporations and cultural centers.
To help achieve their career objectives, archive directors draw from various disciplines, like history, business management and cultural studies, as well as computer, library or biological science.
With the competitive nature of the career field, most professionals employed in director-level positions must meet specific criteria, including:
Archivists may also become voluntarily certified by The Academy of Certified Archivists. To qualify for the written “Certified Archivist” examination, archivists must have a minimum of one year of relevant work experience and a master’s or higher educational degree. The certificate may be renewed on a periodic basis.
Archives directors supervise the maintenance, preservation, storage and exhibition of records deemed culturally or historically important. To help achieve their professional objectives, they frequently collaborate with technicians and other personnel on collection acquisition, long-term and temporary exhibits, media presentations, public tours, workshops and lectures.
Archives directors may also conduct research on the significance or authenticity of a collection, or on the best method for long-term data storage and access.
Archives directors work in a variety of settings, including:
Most archives directors focus on a specific time period (such as the early 20th century) or subject matter (like government or business). The extent of their knowledge base may vary depending on their particular work environment and responsibilities. Continuing education programs are available for archives directors through professional organizations or sometimes directly through employers.
The number of job openings for archivists is predicted to grow at a significantly faster than average rate. In particular, the demand for professionals with expert knowledge of electronic data storage is expected to outpace the need for archivists focused on older forms of information collection.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, archivists tend to earn an average annual salary of between $34,050 and $60,150.
Government agencies on the local, county, state and federal levels employ around 30 percent of archivists.
Among the highest paying of employers of archivists is the Federal Government, which pays archivists annual salaries of around $83,758.