Curators manage museums as well as zoos, botanical gardens, and historical sites. They oversee acquisition, storage, and the exhibition of a museum's collections. Curators may specialize in a particular field and, in larger museums, work with several separate curators. They also may assist with a museum's fundraising, public relations, and educational programming. Job responsibilities of curators include:
- Acquiring and overseeing the storage and care of items for a museum's collection
- Choosing theme and overseeing the design of museum exhibitions
- Directing and supervising curatorial, technical, research, grant writing, and student staff
- Attending meetings and private and public events to promote the museum, its mission, and upcoming exhibitions
The BLS reports that museum attendance is predicted to rise over the next decade which will help these institutions remain financially solvent and culturally relevant in a still-recovering economy. This along with the public's continued interest in art, science, history, and technology will fuel job growth for museum curators.Read More
Job Growth for
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Becoming a Curator
Most museums require that curators hold a master's degree in the museum's specialty, be it art, history, or archeology, museum studies, or in the curator's respective area of expertise. Natural history and science museums may favor candidates with a doctoral degree. In smaller museums, curator jobs may be available to candidates with a bachelor's degree and previous museum experience through an internship or part-time employment.
Many schools offer high-quality on-campus bachelor's and master's degree programs in museum studies and art history. Online degrees in these areas are, as of this writing, not available. The Rochester Institute of Technology offers a bachelor's of science in museum studies with either a management or art conservation track. A sampling you may take in a museum studies degree program include:
- Introduction to Museums and Collecting
- History and Theory of Exhibitions
- Fundraising, Grant Writing and Marketing
- Conservation and Analysis
Although job growth is predicted for curators, the competition for those jobs will be strong. Museums will favor candidates with previous museum experience in collection management, research, exhibit design, or restoration. Employers may also seek out curators with strong management and public relations skills and a thorough knowledge of Internet and mobile technology.