As someone interested in vernacular architecture, you may wish to formally study those buildings and landscapes that are so integral to the fabric of our every day lives or to work in a job in which you deal with vernacular resources.
Knowing where to seek information on educational programs that offer coursework in vernacular architecture or where to find job opportunities can be a daunting task. While not an exhaustive guide, this section of the website offers some valuable resources for you to begin your research into the educational and professional world of vernacular architecture.
Links to Educational and Professional Resources
This webzine offers an extensive list of museum jobs available.
PreserveNet is designed to provide preservationists with a comprehensive database of regularly updated internet resources and current professional and internship opportunities for those in the preservation industry and allied fields.
National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE)
The National Council for Preservation Education is a non-profit education organization dedicated to encouraging and assisting in the development and improvement of historic preservation education programs in the United States and elsewhere. The NCPE offers a useful Guide to Academic Programs in Historic Preservation and Allied Fields. The NCPE website also offers a list of international preservation resources.
National Council on Public History (NCPH)
The National Council on Public History is a professional association devoted to the study and practice of public history. The website provides information on public history degree programs and updated weekly job listings.
National Trust for Historic Preservation Forum Online
Forum Online is an online information service offered as a benefit of National Trust Forum, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s professional and organizational membership program. Annual dues are $115. Membership provides access to a national listing of jobs available in historic preservation, updated frequently.
Employment in Vernacular Architecture
While there are few jobs devoted solely to vernacular architecture, there are jobs in which people work with vernacular resources on a regular basis. Some examples of employment in the fields of history, public history, architecture, architectural history, archaeology, planning, and historic preservation may include the following:
Many of these places of employment offer internships or work-study programs for students. Obtaining work experience and exposure to your chosen field while still in school is the best way to build your resume and make important contacts. It’s also a good way to see what a job or area of potential employment is really like before pursuing a position.
Professional Job Tips
As a job searcher in vernacular architecture, it is important to be sure that you are following the general guidelines for job searching. Many books – such as What Color is Your Parachute – provide a wealth of knowledge about the job search process. Concepts such as keeping your resume to one or two pages, keeping your background concise, and writing an effective cover letter are all important to making your case for a prospective employer. Cover letters allow you a chance to explore your resume, not restate it. Describe your background and elaborate on your areas of expertise, but make sure it’s building upon your resume. Focus on how your experience connects to the job. Also, some job seekers find that having more than one version of their resume allows them the flexibility to apply for a range of open positions. In vernacular architecture, one job does not fit all.
Also, when considering what types of jobs you might be interested in, consider how you might structure your background. Most degree granting institutions provide a generalist type of program. However, it is up to you to develop a specific type of area. It’s not just museum studies – it’s digital interpretation. It’s not just historic preservation – its heritage planning. It’s not just archaeology – its underwater archaeology. Most jobs will be looking for a technical background so learn the computer programs relevant to your area of study. Focus yourself, but don’t limit yourself.
Finally, watch the trends. If you watch a few of these job sites you will notice a geographic distribution and hiring pattern for most jobs. You will start to identify the key characteristics of each job type and when they tend to open. (Government jobs tend to open at the start of a fiscal year. Non-profits jobs tend to open a few months before the start of a fiscal year to allow for planning in their budgets.) Watch the trends and you will be an effective job hunter.
Job Listing Boards
Guardian Jobs – Arts and Heritage
(Jobs in England – from the Guardian newspaper)
University of Leicester – Job Desk
(Some jobs in the United States, but most in England and Europe.)