Do you fancy yourself a bit of a beer expert? Does the idea of getting paid $64,00 per year (plus benefits) to travel the country and drink craft beer appeal to you? If so, then the Smithsonian Museum has the perfect job for you. They are currently looking to hire a beer historian as part of the museum’s Food History project for archival and field research into the history of beer.
The position, which is being funded by the Brewers Association, lasts for three years and comes with a salary of $64,650 per year, plus benefits. Unfortunately, spending five nights a week at the local pub washing down one craft beer with another doesn’t qualify you as a beer historian. To qualify for their position of beer historian, the Smithsonian is asking for a candidate that has an advanced degree “in American business, brewing, food, cultural, or similar specialization within history.”
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2016
The new position of beer historian will help expand the Food History project exhibit already running at the Smithsonian Museum, while chronicling the rise of beer making in post-prohibition America through an understanding of industry, culture, and economics, says Smithsonian curator Paula Johnson.
“This is not just what’s in the glass, but innovations in the industry, economic history, social and cultural history…. There are a lot of strands that come together to make this part of the larger narrative of American history.”
Johnson said that the idea for an exhibit on beer came about while researchers at the Smithsonian were researching the Food History project. One point of interest, in particular, was the craft beer movement. Because of this growing interest, the beer historian will not only focus on the history of large-scale breweries, but also on craft beer, and the soaring industry of craft breweries that has popped up in recent years. According to ABC News, craft beer breweries more than doubled between 2009 and 2015, from 1,596 to 4,225. The qualified historian will help to gain insight into why craft beer has gained such a momentum, by looking into the history of beer from post-prohibition through the 21st century, Johnson says.
“We have collected food history for many years, so when we were doing the research for the exhibition, which is all about big changes in the post WW II era in how and what we eat, one thing we were curious about is the craft beer movement. We were looking at wine, coffee, cheese, artisanal bread, and farmers markets. Well, this movement with small-scale, local regional beer is part of the ethos.”
“In order to see a trend, you have to see the deep history. [The beer historian] will attend to both. You always want to understand, ‘How did we get to 4,200 small breweries here in 2016 from just a few 30 years ago?’ There’s an economic aspect and a community aspect to this story.”
Fox News reports that the Smithsonian currently has information about the beer industry and its history dating between the late 19th and early 20th century, but almost nothing from the 1960s to today. This gap is what the museum hopes the beer historian will help to fill. During their three-year tenure, the beer historian will be required to travel, interview people within the beer industry, write articles pertaining to the history of beer, and help research and set up exhibits and archival information.
— Lauren Hug (@LaurenHug) July 27, 2016
Qualified candidates are urged to apply for the beer historian position before August 10 and are asked to include their CV, cover letter, and the names of three references. Do you think you have what it takes to fulfill the role of beer historian for the Smithsonian Museum? If so, find the full job posting, as well as where to apply, on the National Museum of American History website.
[Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP Images]