Architectural Historian Job Description [Updated for 2024]

architectural historian job description

In the realm of design and culture, the role of architectural historians has never been more vital.

As society evolves, so does the demand for knowledgeable minds who can examine, interpret, and preserve our architectural heritage.

But let’s delve deeper: What is truly expected from an architectural historian?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager drafting the perfect job specification,
  • Or simply fascinated by the field of architectural history,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we introduce a customizable architectural historian job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right in.

Architectural Historian Duties and Responsibilities

Architectural Historians study buildings and structures to learn about historical periods, architectural styles, and the societies that produced them.

They work in a variety of settings, from universities and museums to government agencies and architectural firms, and often contribute to historic preservation efforts.

The duties and responsibilities of an Architectural Historian include:

  • Research and document historical data pertaining to architectural structures
  • Analyze and interpret architectural plans, photographs, and other relevant documents
  • Prepare detailed reports on architectural significance and historical context of buildings and sites
  • Consult with architects, planners, and developers on projects affecting historic structures
  • Evaluate buildings and structures for eligibility for historic preservation status
  • Present findings to the public, professionals, and government officials in written reports and oral presentations
  • Contribute to the development of conservation and preservation plans
  • Teach architectural history and preservation courses at universities


Architectural Historian Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking an experienced Architectural Historian to join our team.

The successful candidate will possess excellent knowledge of architectural history, have a keen eye for historical detail, and have a strong understanding of the preservation process.

The Architectural Historian’s responsibilities include conducting historical and architectural research, preparing architectural history reports, identifying historical buildings and sites, and making recommendations for their preservation.

Our ideal candidate holds a degree in Architectural History, Preservation, or a related field and has substantial experience in historical research.



  • Conducting historical and architectural research on buildings, structures, and urban areas.
  • Preparing and presenting detailed architectural history reports.
  • Identifying and evaluating historically significant architectural resources.
  • Collaborating with architects and planners to incorporate historic preservation considerations in project planning.
  • Maintaining current knowledge of legislation and policies relating to architectural history and preservation.
  • Providing consultation and advice on historical preservation projects.
  • Assisting in the preparation of nominations for historic designations.



  • A degree in Architectural History, Historic Preservation, or a related field.
  • Experience in historic architectural research and preservation.
  • Excellent knowledge of architectural styles and construction techniques.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Proficiency in using GIS and other mapping tools.
  • Ability to work well in a team and communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders.



  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vacation and Paid Time Off
  • Professional Development Opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Architectural Historian
  • Work Environment: Office setting with fieldwork required. Travel may be necessary for site visits and research.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Senior Architectural Historian or Preservation Director.
  • Salary: Salary is based on experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $50,000 minimum to $75,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does an Architectural Historian Do?

Architectural Historians typically work for universities, museums, historic preservation organizations, architectural firms, or government agencies.

Some also work as independent consultants.

They study and document the historical and architectural significance of buildings, structures, and urban landscapes from different periods.

This involves extensive research, field work, and photographic documentation.

Architectural Historians review and analyze building plans, maps, construction materials, and architectural styles to determine the historical context and significance of the structure.

They often play a crucial role in the preservation and restoration of historic buildings by providing advice and guidance based on their research.

This can include identifying historically accurate materials and methods for restoration, or suggesting alterations that are in keeping with the original architectural style.

They may also be responsible for compiling reports and presenting findings to clients, stakeholders, or the public.

These reports can influence planning decisions, contribute to academic research, and educate the public about the historical value of their built environment.

In addition, some Architectural Historians work to promote public awareness and appreciation of historic architecture through lectures, guided tours, exhibitions, and publications.


Architectural Historian Qualifications and Skills

An Architectural Historian must possess a blend of technical knowledge, research skills, and a passion for history to effectively study and interpret the historical and cultural significance of buildings, structures, and urban landscapes.

These skills and qualifications include:

  • A comprehensive understanding of architectural history and historic preservation to analyze and interpret historic buildings, structures, and landscapes.
  • Strong research skills to conduct thorough historical research for cultural resources including buildings, landscapes, and communities.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills to effectively report research findings, prepare historic preservation planning documents, and present information to clients, colleagues, and the public.
  • Detail-oriented with the ability to manage multiple tasks and projects simultaneously, ensuring all work is completed on time and to a high standard.
  • Analytical skills to evaluate the historical significance of architectural elements, and their context within broader cultural and historical themes.
  • Adeptness at using computer software and databases to catalog findings, create reports, and manage projects.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, and local preservation laws and regulations to ensure compliance in all work.
  • Interpersonal skills to work well with a team of other historians, architects, planners, and clients.


Architectural Historian Experience Requirements

To become an Architectural Historian, one should ideally possess a Bachelor’s degree in history, architectural history, or a related field.

However, most professional roles demand a Master’s degree or PhD in architectural history, historic preservation, or a related discipline.

Entry-level architectural historians may have 1 to 2 years of experience, often obtained through internships, part-time roles, or research assistantships.

During this period, they gain hands-on experience in fieldwork, archival research, and architectural surveying.

Intermediate level professionals with 3 to 5 years of experience usually have a more substantial background in conducting historical research, writing technical reports, and implementing preservation laws and regulations.

They may also have experience with consultation in compliance with cultural resource management laws.

Architectural historians with more than 5 years of experience often have more specialized expertise such as knowledge of a specific historical era or architectural style.

They may also have experience in project management, including leading teams, overseeing surveys, and coordinating with stakeholders.

Continued professional development in the form of conferences, workshops, and additional certifications can be beneficial for advancement in this field.

Specialized knowledge or experience in areas such as historic tax credits or conservation easements can also be advantageous.


Architectural Historian Education and Training Requirements

Architectural Historians typically need a bachelor’s degree in art history, architecture, historic preservation, or a closely related field.

They must have a deep understanding of architectural styles, building materials, and construction methodologies across different time periods.

Therefore, coursework in architectural history, conservation, and urban design is usually necessary.

A master’s degree or Ph.D. in architectural history, historic preservation, or a related discipline is often required for higher-level positions, research roles, or teaching positions.

In addition to formal education, architectural historians often gain practical experience through internships, fieldwork, or working on preservation projects.

While not always mandatory, obtaining a certification from a recognized heritage body, like the American Institute of Architects, can showcase an individual’s professional expertise and commitment to the field.

Continued education is important in this role to stay informed about new research methods, preservation techniques, and changes in policies related to historic preservation.


Architectural Historian Salary Expectations

An Architectural Historian earns an average salary of $58,230 (USD) per year.

The salary may vary depending on factors such as years of experience, the level of education, and the location of work.


Architectural Historian Job Description FAQs

What qualifications does an Architectural Historian need?

Architectural Historians typically hold a Bachelor’s degree in history, architecture, or a related field.

However, many employers require a Master’s degree or PhD in Architectural History, Historic Preservation, or a related field.

They may also require experience in research, architectural surveys, and historic preservation.


What are the daily duties of an Architectural Historian?

An Architectural Historian may spend their day conducting field surveys to identify and document historic structures and landscapes, researching architectural plans and blueprints, examining physical building materials, and writing descriptive historical narratives.

Their duties can also involve contributing to preservation planning efforts and providing expert advice for architectural restoration projects.


What qualities make a good Architectural Historian?

Good Architectural Historians have an eye for detail, a deep appreciation for historical structures, and strong research skills.

They often have excellent written and verbal communication skills, as they need to describe and explain their findings to various audiences.

Patience and perseverance are crucial, as some research projects may take months or even years to complete.


What should you look for in an Architectural Historian resume?

Look for a solid educational background in history or architecture and relevant work experience.

It’s beneficial if the candidate has experience in research, fieldwork, and historic preservation.

Knowledge of architectural styles and building techniques is a must.

Familiarity with architectural software and databases can also be a big plus.


Is it difficult to hire an Architectural Historian?

The difficulty in hiring an Architectural Historian depends on the specific requirements of the position.

For roles requiring advanced degrees or specific expertise, it might be a bit challenging to find the right candidate.

Offering competitive salaries and opportunities for fieldwork or research can help attract qualified candidates.



There you have it.

Today, we’ve unveiled the intricate details of what it means to be an architectural historian.

Guess what?

It’s not just about studying old buildings.

It’s about shaping the narrative of our built environment, one historical structure at a time.

With our detailed architectural historian job description template and real-world examples, you’re well-equipped to embark on your journey.

But why stop there?

Delve further with our job description generator. It’s your key to precision-tailored job listings or refining your resume to perfection.


Every historical structure tells a story.

Let’s construct that narrative. Together.

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