Museum Curator Jobs
Curators do a lot of different things, but they generally do them within a museum. Some museums will use the term curator to mean manager.
As an example, they might call the education director the “education curator.” Other museums will use the term in a more traditional sense.
Using the traditional sense of the title, a curator takes care of some specific type of collection. It could be the living fresh water fish in an aquarium or the 17th century art collection. To perform their work, curators need specific academic and practical training. Visit the curator work position description in our Archeaology section for even more information.
If a donor brings in a new fish or art work the curator will be called on to assess the benefit to the museum of accepting the donation. Accepting it means the museum becomes responsible for taking care of it. It also means that the donated item fits into the museums existing collections and exhibits. Accepting everything that comes through the door is an invitation to become bloated with stuff the museum can’t use or care for.
If the museum is small, the curator might also perform the duties of registrar. However, usually these are separate functions.
If the museum decides to hold an exhibition within the curator’s area of expertise, the curator will be called on to recommend which pieces from the museums collection should be shown. Or, which important pieces from other museums should be borrowed. Filling out the paper work for borrowing items from other museums is detail-rich and time consuming.
The curator is responsible for the safe keeping of the items in the collection. He or she must ensure that the items are not being harmed (from excess sunlight, excess humidity or temperature, or physical damage). Get the scoop on photo curator jobs in our Photography section.
In research museums the curators do the research work and publish their findings in professional journals. Some are the world’s experts on particular plants, animals, artists, diamonds. As such, they hold at least master’s degrees and more often Ph.Ds.