Curator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Administers affairs of a museum and conducts research programs. Directs instructional, research, and public service activities of institution.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Professional Support Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Plans and organizes the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections and related materials, including the selection of exhibition themes and designs, and develop or install exhibit materials.
  • Writes and reviews grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.
  • Plans and conducts special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Confers with the board of directors to formulate and interpret policies, to determine budget requirements, and to plan overall operations.
  • Develops and maintains an institution's registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Trains and supervises curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns.
  • Negotiates and authorizes purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Provides information from the institution's holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Attends meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution's services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.
  • Designs, organizes, or conducts tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution's facilities and materials.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



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Museum Technicians and Conservators

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Art Gallery Director -- Arranges exhibitions and events for a gallery or galleries, developing a schedule, contacting exhibitors, and researching artists and their work to ensure that exhibits are compatible with the gallery.
  • Exhibitions and Collections Manager --
  • Gallery Director --
  • Modern and Contemporary Art Curator --
  • Museum Director --
  • Natural History Collections Curator --
  • Prints and Drawings Curator --