Careers in Culture – Careers In Heritage

> The future of heritage - yours for the making!

Race Against Time

Do you know your grandparents' stories? Do you know why they treasured a favourite watch or photograph? Do you know what was located 20, 50 or 100 years ago on the piece of land where you live today? Heritage is about finding ways to preserve the knowledge and treasures from the past so that they aren't lost forever. If you want to make sure that your personal, community and national stories, places and artifacts are preserved, then heritage may be a great career path for you. Can you see yourself as a conservation architect carefully blending our remaining historic streetscapes with new buildings? Or working at a national park or historic site as an interpreter? Or as a botanist creating an educational program that explains how to protect our endangered plants? Join the race against time and keep our identity alive.


Heritage + Tourism = $$$

Tremendous attention is being paid to the importance of creative cities as places to work, and to enjoy a good quality of life. This increases the focus on culture in general, and heritage activities in particular, in our cities. In 2004, the heritage sector contributed $17 billion annually to Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hosted over 59 million visitors each year, including 7.5 million school children, and employed 24,000 people. Heritage draws people to our cities, generating large-scale tourism   opportunities. The links between heritage resources, events and activities and tourism opportunities are only beginning to be tapped to their full potential.

Volunteer Your Way In

Volunteering is one of the best ways for you to get your foot in the “careers in heritage” door. Organizations need enthusiastic volunteers in all sorts of areas from interpretation to administration. In some cases, when there is a job opening, they look to their volunteers first to fill the position. Volunteering can benefit you in other ways, too. You'll develop new skills and get to see how an organization works. You'll find out if you like the work, the setting and your co-workers. Volunteering not only gives you great contacts, it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your reliability and skills.

Back to the Future!

Can you imagine what our diverse country will look like in 20, 50 or 100 years? How will our personal, community, and national stories be collected and preserved? Who will do the telling? What kinds of careers in heritage will come from this diversity?

Memory Keepers

Today we have access to more knowledge than ever before at the click of a mouse. How do we maintain our identity with these powerful global influences in our lives? One way is for people to convince governments to better fund organizations that hold our Canadian memory. Another is to fill existing heritage jobs with professionals who can carry our stories into the next millennium. Libraries and archives house our stories, documents and records. Museums and art galleries preserve our treasures and artifacts. Elders and historians tell our stories. And others carry forward the knowledge of our languages, music, crafts and traditions. All can preserve these artifacts in physical and electronic forms. Like a piece of jigsaw puzzle, each individual, community and organization adds up to the whole of our Canadian memory.

Wanted – Heritage Promoters

Can you sell a concept? Are you good at raising money or getting support for a cause? Heritage agencies need fundraisers and marketers. Can you see yourself raising mega-dollars from corporate sponsors to bankroll a two-week heritage festival or marketing your local botanical garden to the general public? Use this checklist to assess your promotional skills.

  • I am convinced that heritage must be protected.
  • I communicate well.
  • I am a good listener.
  • I am a good investigator.
  • I am a good negotiator.
  • I do not give up easily.
  • I can take a complex idea and explain it to others.

How did you do?

If you have these traits, they could be your ticket to the world of fundraising in the field of heritage.

Creators' Rights and Public Accessibility

Copyright issues have gained increasing importance as more creative works become available in electronic formats. Heritage workers have a particularly challenging task – especially in libraries and archives – as they must play a double role: protecting the rights of the creator or copyright holder, while striving to make works and objects accessible to the public. Laws regarding copyright and the protection of personal privacy are undergoing considerable change. In Canada, the best source for heritage workers to obtain current information on copyright is from the Copyright Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.