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Practitioners in Talk #Part 20

Veröffentlicht am 8. June 2021, 09:23 Uhr

:: Non-academic careers::

Practitioners in Talk #Part 20

Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? We talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their career outside the university. Klaus Schroeder spoke to us about his work as scientific employee for the Deutsche Marinemuseum.


Klaus Schroeder on a museum tour in the Deutschen Marinemuseum ©Marinemusikkorps Wilhelmshaven

Klaus, you did your PhD at the BGHS in 2018, and you are now working as scientific employee for the Deutsche Marinemuseum. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Klaus Schroeder: I did by the classic way: application and an interview. In the third third of my PhD time, I realized: I won’t work at the university after completing my PhD. Then I oriented myself in different directions. Museums were also an option for me because the museum is a very typical occupational field for historians. So I applied for positions at different museums. I was invited to an interview at the Marinemuseum and was offered a position as a volunteer. I have to say: I was a soldier before my studies, I did an internship at another military history museum during my bachelor’s degree, and my doctoral thesis was also on military history. That was certainly a knowledge and network advantage for me. But it is not a necessary requirement for an application – I can see that in my successor, who is now a volunteer here. It can be compared to research: Sometimes it is helpful to approach the matter with a different perspective.


Klaus Schroeder in front of a map of the world in the Deutschen Marinemuseum ©Deutsches Marinemuseum

You work for the Deutsche Marinemuseum in Wilhelmshaven. Where do you work exactly?

Klaus Schroeder: The Marinemuseum is located in Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea. The museum has a permanent exhibition – which also includes three accessible boats and ships lying in the water – and special exhibitions, and last year it had a good 95,000 visitors despite Corona. The institutional context is as follows: The museum does not belong to either the city of Wilhelmshaven or the Navy, but we are a foundation under private law. So, we show military history from a critical distance, but of course we are in contact with the navy.

What are your most important tasks in this job?

Klaus Schroeder: My most important task in the last six months was to prepare a special exhibition about the sailing training ship “Gorch Fock”. This ranged from the first sketch of the exhibition, through research and the selection of exhibits, to the organization of an accompanying program. This exhibition opened in mid-May. Then, secondly, I have a series of tasks that arise in the collection of our museum. Most museums exhibit less than ten percent of their collection, and have many objects stored in stacks. So if, for example, someone gives us a moving box with marine equipment from a legacy, then we first have to understand: What is it? Then we check: Is it interesting for us? If so, it will be added to the collections database and packaged to last. Thirdly, I have a job that I would like to call “something with media”. For example, last year I set up our YouTube channel, on which we offer a digital tour of our permanent exhibition. And I am currently in the process of relaunching our website with an external service provider.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in the occupational field you are in?

Klaus Schroeder: So, if you have decided to leave the university, then I would recommend looking for opportunities during your doctorate to impart your own knowledge outside of the university or to use your own skills there. Even if, for example, working in a memorial or in a university administration may lead to the doctoral period being extended, I would recommend not doing it the way I did. I practically first completed my doctorate and then thought about: Where do I want to work? What are my competencies? And which skills do I want to develop? I am giving advice, so to speak, that I have not followed myself.

Klaus, thank you for the conversation!

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.


You can find the complete interview (in German) here:

Komplettversion als PDF

Further information on the non-university careers project is available here . The previous interviews in the series are available here.

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