What Do Curators Do?
A curator manages collections of art, collectibles, historic items or other things of that nature for museums and similar institutions. A curator may also be in charge of running instructional, research and public service activities for the institution they are employed through.Across the United States, this type of position is expected to see a 13% increase. This means that annually there will be approximately 390 curator job openings.
Curators Skills and Abilities
In order to be a curator, you have to knowledge of history, archeology, administration and design. You should be able to speak to others in a way that they will understand, and understand others when they speak. You should be able to think critically about different ways to categorize items. In a similar vein, you should be good at categorizing and grouping items together. You should also have an eye for design.
You would then use those skills and abilities to:
- Plan and organize displays as well as the procurement and storage of art, collectibles or historic items.
- Design and conduct research over areas of interest or expertise.
- Write and look over grant proposals, institutional reports, publicity materials and journal articles.
- Work with board members to determine budget, plan operations and make policies.
- Train and oversee fiscal, research, clerical, curatorial and technical staff members as well as any interns or volunteers.
- Share information about items owned by institution with peers and the public.
- Use computer databases to record institution’s registration, catalogs and other important records.
- Oversee the negotiation and authorization of purchasing, selling, exchanging and even loaning parts or pieces of collections.
- Design, organize and even run tours and workshops to educate individuals on the facility and materials housed there.
- Promote the institution and its uses as well as try and obtain funding by forming community alliances at meeting, civic events and conventions.
- Examine and test acquisitions in order to make sure that they are authentic.
- Schedule, organize and plan events including details such as refreshments, entertainment, decorations and fees.
These are just a few of the duties that you may have to do as a curator.
Curators Tools and Technology
In order to make being a curator easier, you should be familiar with some tools and technology. You should know how to use computers, cameras, scanners, precision knives and claw hammers. You should also be familiar with scheduling software, much of the Adobe software and database software designed for museums and similar institutions. These tools and technology will make it easier for you to design, schedule and upkeep any institution that you work for.
Education and Training for Curators
In order to become a curator, you have to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. You should take courses like:
- Art History, Criticism and Conservation
- Public History
These courses will give you the knowledge you need to put together successful exhibitions.
An average curator in the United States makes about $51,300. Of course, your salary will depend on where you live, what type of education you have and how much experience you have. The lower 10% of curators make about $28,800 while the upper 10% make about $89,900.
Curators Jobs by Geography
The geography changes the average salary. For instance, curators in the District of Columbia, Connecticut and California make more on average than in any other area of the United States. The geography also affects how easily you’ll be able to find a job. For example, Georgia, Florida and Utah are expected to have the biggest increase in curator positions, but New York, California and Massachusetts have the most curator positions per capita. If you aspire to become a curator, you have to think about where you want to live. You also have to consider what type of institution you want to work for and what sort of education you are willing to pursue.