From national museums to archaeological trusts, Prospect members are at the heart of our heritage sector.

Prospect represents a growing membership of over 10,000 members across the UK’s heritage, culture and arts sector.

Representing such a large number of workers in the area, we have a strong collective voice with a proven record in supporting members collectively and individually. We represent professional and specialist members working in areas such as curatorial, conservation, archaeology and visitor services.

Why do heritage workers need a trade union?

Many choose heritage careers because of a strong sense of community and shared understanding of the importance of their work.

The sector faces continuous challenges, such as austerity, the impact of Brexit on EU nationals, loss of specialist skills, increased workload and use of volunteers. More recently, the pandemic has made it a tough time for workers in the sector.

As a trade union, we tackle these challenges with public campaigns and a constructive approach with employers and the government. A healthy heritage sector is vital and promotes the direct link to positive mental health and wellbeing on the economy.

Our members in heritage make a massive contribution to our society and economy, that’s why we are launching a new campaign: World class heritage, second class pay.

Most heritage workers are paid below the national median salary of £33,280, and many are on very low pay. This must change. Read our briefing on pay in the heritage sector (PDF) to hear our members’ stories.

Join 10,000 colleagues working in the heritage sector today Join us now

What we’re fighting for

Why heritage matters to Prospect is the same as why it matters to our members. We know that:

  • pay is relatively low compared to jobs requiring similar skills outside the sector
  • cuts have an adverse impact on academic/historical research
  • loss of skills and specialist roles is an issue
  • work done by our members is of high intrinsic worth
  • investing into heritage brings back money into the economy
  • working together we are better equipped to tackle challenges

We understand your role, the importance of heritage organisations and how protecting cultural and heritage institutions is essential for shaping our future.

Campaign resources

Supporting Heritage: the next steps is available to download in English and Welsh.

What our heritage members say…


News and analysis

13 September 2023
Prospect has put the heritage sector at the forefront of this year’s TUC Congress agenda…
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25 May 2023
On Thursday 11 May, reps, industry figures and MSPs from across the political spectrum…
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Ben Middleton · 3 March 2023
The dozens of civil service and public sector branches who have voted to take strike action…
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See our full list of heritage group branches.
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