Curators 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 the institution.

  • 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.
  • Develop and maintain an institution's registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Provide information from the institution's holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Negotiate and authorize purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.
  • Inspect premises to assess the need for repairs and to ensure that climate and pest control issues are addressed.
  • Write and review grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.
  • Design, organize, or conduct tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution's facilities and materials.
  • Attend meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution's services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.
  • Train and supervise curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns.
  • Confer with the board of directors to formulate and interpret policies, to determine budget requirements, and to plan overall operations.
  • 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.
  • Establish specifications for reproductions and oversee their manufacture or select items from commercially available replica sources.
Work Context
  • Electronic Mail — 86% responded "Every day".
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 75% responded "A lot of freedom".
  • Telephone — 77% responded "Every day".
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 81% responded "Every day".
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 70% responded "A lot of freedom".
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 70% responded "Every day".
  • Contact With Others — 51% responded "Constant contact with others".
  • Read More
Work Activities
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Read More
Detailed Work Activities
  • Develop library or archival databases.
  • Provide information to the general public.
  • Train staff members.
  • Direct activities of subordinates.
  • Negotiate purchases or contracts.
  • Order instructional or library materials or equipment.
  • Read More

Knowledge

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.
Fine Arts
  • Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Read More

Skills

Reading Comprehension
  • Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking
  • Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening
  • Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing
  • Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Read More

Abilities

Oral Comprehension
  • The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
  • The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
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.
Read More

Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Persistence
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Orientation
  • Self Control
Read More

Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Data base user interface and query software
  • Microsoft Access Hot Technology
  • Re:discovery Software Proficio
  • Vernon Systems Limited Vernon CMS
  • MINISIS MINT
  • Questor Systems ARGUS
  • PastPerfect Software PastPerfect
  • Artsystems Collections
  • Cuadra Associates STAR/Museums
  • Ex Libris Group DigiTool
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Gallery Systems EmbARK
  • Gallery Systems The Museum System
  • KE Software EMu
  • Willoughby Associates MIMSY XG
Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Excel Hot Technology
Electronic mail software
  • Microsoft Outlook Hot Technology
Read More

Education

Master's Degree or
Doctoral Degree
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Job Outlook

New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
Salary
$56,990
$33,370
$96,820