Best Job Ever? The Smithsonian Is Hiring a Beer Historian for $65K a Year


Years ago, Texas Monthly made headlines by hiring Daniel Vaughn as its barbecue editor. It struck me as a dream job then, and it still does today. Now the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is drawing attention with a similar opening, this time for a beer historian-slash-scholar.

The 3-year appointment, funded by the Brewers Association, is tailor-made for someone who geeks out over American brewing history, especially craft beers.

“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,” museum curator Paula Johnson told the Washington City Paper. While the museum features collections from the late 19th and 20th centuries, it has little to show from the 1970s onward. The aim of this role is to fix that.

If you have an advanced degree in American business, brewing, food, cultural or another specialization, you may be the right fit for this job. However, you’ll need to do more than rattle off facts about Sierra Nevada. In addition to conducting archival and field research, the historian will also organize and conduct oral history interviews, write for scholarly and general audiences and work with Smithsonian staff to develop a broad variety of programs, including online.

Applications are due August 10 and the salary is $64,650 a year, plus benefits.

Prefer to keep your passions separate from work? Perhaps this job isn’t for you. You can still enjoy the high life, however, as long as you do so responsibly. Remember, it’s wise to budget for your Harpoon IPA obsession, lest you wind up in credit card debt. And if you can’t afford your craft brew fixation, consider cutting back on other expenses. You can see how your current debt levels may be affecting your finances by viewing your free credit summary on

Image: KM4

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