How to Get a Job in a Museum: Administrator

Digital Media
February 19, 2024

Are you interested in a career in museums? There are hundreds of unique creative careers behind the scenes in museums and art galleries, from textiles cleaning to audience research, web development to marketing, pest control to working in the mannequin studio – and many you’ll never have thought of (and neither had we). We’ve been asking people from across V&A East (and beyond) to share their career journeys and give their insider advice for getting into the arts – even if you’ve never thought that was for you. 

First up, meet Jasmine Sarkodee-Adoo, who joined V&A East as team administrator in 2023. Jasmine was part of a young people’s group at V&A East and has moved into the team at the museum, now organising everything from diaries to events. We get a look into her day at work plus her top tips for job hunting and staying organised

A portrait of a woman and an image of her writing her in an notebook
Jasmine photographed in Hackney Wick and at the V&A East offices

What was your first job?

My first job after I graduated was through Creative Access, working as a Gallery Assistant Trainee at PEER, a contemporary art space in Hackney, East London. Creative Access is a social enterprise providing support and training for people from under-represented groups, to make sure the creative industries reflect society. Working at PEER gave me a real insight into what it takes to run a local-scale community-focused arts organisation. I had the chance to work on organising events, support on communications including social media, as well as getting to working with emerging artists and established artists such as Francisca Sosa López and Lubna Chowdhary.

How did you get your job at V&A East?

I remember coming across an Instagram post about the role by Run the Check, which is a great resource for creative opportunities . At the time I was working in a similar job at Autograph Gallery in Hackney as their Team Assistant, but I was also a member of the V&A East Youth Collective. After submitting my application through the V&A job portal, I had two rounds of interviews. The first was a video call interview with the Deputy Director, the Executive Assistant to the Director and a Curator for the museum. They asked me about my experience, what I’d do in certain situations and my career aspirations for the future.  At the second interview, which was in-person, I was given a 10-minute exercise that required me to rank tasks in order of their priority. They then asked me some follow up questions. Funnily enough I got the job on my 25th birthday!

A woman sitting at a desk on a photn call

What is a typical day in your job like?

A typical day can be quite varied for me but usually involves a lot of diary wrangling, which is basically scheduling meetings, making sure everyone is available and where they need to be.  My day can also include working on fun ad-hoc stuff like scouting for examples of limited-edition compilation records for an upcoming exhibition to supporting our monthly Make Space workshops with local organisation Badu Café.

I’d say the overarching focus of my role is to be a link between all the different V&A East teams to make sure all our daily operations run smoothly and get us that bit closer to opening our doors in 2025.

What’s do you wish you had known when you started?

Nothing. A great thing about this role is that a lot of getting to grips with it ultimately comes from doing. Getting stuck in, making mistakes along the way, and asking lots of questions. I would say though, being part of the V&A East Youth Collective beforehand was a saving grace ! The Youth Collective is a group of 16-25 year olds all living locally to V&A East who are part of a panel advising the museum on the design development – making it more relatable and inspiring to local young people. It really helped me understand the V&A East project in an introductory way as there’s SO much to it

What makes you good at your job?

Being friendly and approachable, having a calm temperament plus an attentive eye for detail. Also being responsive to the needs of the team.

What are the best and worst things about working in a museum?

The best thing about working in a museum is being so close to the vast amount of inspiration . Not just in the amazing objects and exhibitions but in the knowledge of colleagues! Everyone is so informed about so many different things and seeing how this this is valued and translated into the bigger picture to make V&A East a welcoming destination for all is honestly very cool, heartwarming and inspiring. Another thing is the unexpected quirkiness of it all. I’ve been part of the team for 10 months now and there’s been many pinch-me moments like walking past Naomi Campbell on the way to grab a cup of tea!

I guess the worst is sometimes having to be across two parts of London on the same day as we’re a multi-site museum. Can’t fully complain though as this does help with getting the steps in.

As an administrator, do you have any tips for staying organised?

OneNote, daily and weekly to-do lists, colour coding (a strong fave), designated focus time and taking regular 5–10-minute breaks.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

The journey doesn’t have to be linear. Only by trying will you find the opportunities and people that will help get you to wherever you want to go.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself collaborating on creative projects that continue to bridge the gap between youth, popular culture, and the creative industries, whether that’s still in the arts or potentially in fashion or music! I’d love to one day open a residency programme back home in Ghana for emerging creatives. Also learning to DJ is high priority on my new hobbies list. Many things God willing . Putting it all out there!

Do you have any advice for finding out about the different roles in creative industries and deciding what suits you?

It is daunting but networking is definitely key.  Let your curiosity be your guide. Reach out to creatives that you’re inspired by whether that be through socials or email. Attend creative events if you can, it’s a great way to meet new people in the industry whilst often learning about something new! If you’re like me who gets a bit anxious in new environments, bringing a friend along helps.

Another good place to start is to look out for youth and mentorship programmes and placement opportunities. Quite a few are on offer now through platforms like Sondr, Arts Emergency and Whitechapel Gallery’s rolling Youth Collective: Duchamp and Sons, plus the V&A and V&A East Youth Collective of course!

Are there any schemes, resources, links that you could share with other young people looking to work in the the creative industries?

In no particular order:

Whitechapel Gallery’s Youth Collective: Duchamp & Sons: IG @duchampandsons
Creative Access: IG @_creativeaccess
Sondr: IG @sondrinc
Tag Agency’s Irin Ajo programme for Black women creatives: IG @tagagencyuk featured in Dazed #282 The Baddie Issue – Winter 2023
Arts Emergency: IG @artsemergency
Good Growth Hub: IG @goodgrowthhub
Black Curatorial: IG @black.curatorial
Black Blossoms: IG
New Currency: IG @newcurrency
Reference Point: IG @referencepoint180


For more creative career tips and inspiration, including Harris Reed’s advice for aspiring designs, follow us on Instagram @vameast and sign up for our newsletter.

2 comments so far, view or add yours


A well written blog with a excellent glance into the museum world

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