Careers in Culture – Careers In Heritage

> Welcome to the world of storytelling

Careers in Heritage – Choices for You

What is a career in heritage? It's bringing to life the stories of our personal, community and national heritage. Some stories are about our landscapes and streetscapes and how they have evolved. Some stories are about important events and objects (artifacts) from our past. There are many ways of telling these stories. You could be a conservator working with old paintings, textiles or furniture. You could be a webmaster, overseeing an online exhibit. Or an archivist handling documents and photographs. Perhaps you are hooked on historic buildings and like working with wood – then a career in carpentry might be your goal. If you're interested in keeping the past alive, then you will be joining thousands of people with stories to tell about Canadian heritage.

Getting Started

People who work in heritage have a passion for something from the past. Take totem poles, for example. Conservators preserve them, while restorers make them whole again. Historians and museum interpreters tell their stories. First Nations people reclaim them. Photographers record them. Artists paint them. Digital media producers create multimedia presentations about them. Writers describe them. Each person, in his or her way, is keeping the stories of the totem poles alive. Do you have a liking for a particular time, place or thing? Then you already have the beginnings of a career in heritage.

Personally Yours

Have you ever thought about your personal heritage? Does your family have heirlooms, keepsakes, diaries – treasures that represent special moments in the lives of an aunt or great-grandparent? If the treasures could speak, what stories would they tell? Many Canadians have created work from their personal heritage. For example, an author may write a biography of an ancestor;  a dancer could keep her Acadian roots alive by performing traditional works; a language interpreter could translate the stories of his tribe's elders and record them for the future;  and a web designer could create an online family tree. Do you have family stories that you would like to keep alive? Your personal and family history could be the starting point for your heritage work.

Street Stories

Community heritage – what is it? It can be stories about a particular geographical place such as a town or city. It can also be stories about a “community of people” – those who are connected through ancestral roots or other social ties. Canada has many communities because our country is home to many different peoples. Each group has its “community” stories with its own history, values, religious beliefs, arts and traditions. Are you interested in a career relating to community heritage? You could be a tour guide showing people your community's architectural heritage, a booking agent organizing a festival, or a developer maintaining historic facades in the downtown core.

The Big Picture

Add up all the stories of each Canadian, and you have one large story that explores many questions. How did the land shape our culture? What forces of history created the nation we have today? If you're interested in how our values and beliefs as a country developed, then you could become an art curator preparing an exhibit of Canadian images, a television producer creating stories about changes to our environment, or, perhaps, an historian teaching early Canadian history at university or college.