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Curators Career

Career Description

Administer collections, such as artwork, collectibles, historic items, or scientific specimens of museums or other institutions. May conduct instructional, research, or public service activities of institution.

What Job Titles Curators Might Have

  • Associate Curator
  • Collections Curator
  • Curator
  • Museum Curator

What Curators Do

  • Plan and organize the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections and related materials, including the selection of exhibition themes and designs, and develop or install exhibit materials.
  • Write and review grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.
  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Confer with the board of directors to formulate and interpret policies, to determine budget requirements, and to plan overall operations.
  • Train and supervise curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns.
  • Develop and maintain an institution's registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Negotiate and authorize purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Provide information from the institution's holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Attend meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution's services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.
  • Design, organize, or conduct tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution's facilities and materials.
  • Inspect premises to assess the need for repairs and to ensure that climate and pest control issues are addressed.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.
  • Arrange insurance coverage for objects on loan or for special exhibits and recommend changes in coverage for the entire collection.
  • Schedule events and organize details, including refreshment, entertainment, decorations, and the collection of any fees.

What Curators Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What Curators Should Be Interested In

What Curators Need to Learn

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $53,360

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.