Working at an archaeological open-air museum: a passion only?

The British Museum in London. Photo by Ham - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

EXARC is inviting for a discussion, an abstract of which we will publish in the EXARC Journal. We call for contributions between 100 and 300 words.

The pay in open-air museums is usually not grand, but the staff are passionate about their jobs. On the other hand, museums cannot exist without their staff and volunteers. The work is often seasonal and actually not all work is paid: think of the volunteers spending their weekends in an “Iron Age village”, only receiving some coffee and a sandwich.

Some museums are entirely run by volunteers. Is it OK if the museums make use of those whose hobby has got out of hand? What is in it for staff and volunteers, and is it enough? Where is the line one should not cross?

Please send your contributions by 15 June 2014 to