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What is a Curator?

Curator Job Description 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 institution.

Life As a Curator: What Do They Do?

  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.
  • Attend meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution’s services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.
  • Confer with the board of directors to formulate and interpret policies, to determine budget requirements, and to plan overall operations.
  • Negotiate and authorize purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Train and supervise curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns.

Curator Skills

When polled, Curators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Curator Jobs

  • Gallery Director
  • Educational Resource Coordinator
  • Collections Curator
  • Stamp Collector
  • Educational Institution Curator

Job Demand for Curators

There were about 12,400 jobs for Curator in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 13.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,700 new jobs for Curator by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,500 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Curator are Colorado, Washington, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Mississippi, Maine, or Idaho. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Curator Average Salary

The salary for Curators ranges between about $29,010 and $94,330 a year.

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Curators who work in District of Columbia, Connecticut, or New York, make the highest salaries.

How much do Curators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $54,900
Alaska $66,070
Arizona $57,280
Arkansas $50,920
California $67,650
Colorado $62,090
Connecticut $67,430
Delaware $58,740
District of Columbia $86,080
Florida $46,570
Georgia $46,380
Hawaii $58,550
Idaho $34,580
Illinois $56,420
Indiana $45,560
Iowa $45,900
Kansas $50,630
Kentucky $51,230
Louisiana $42,190
Maine $52,270
Maryland $62,370
Massachusetts $68,240
Michigan $50,530
Minnesota $55,740
Mississippi $44,240
Missouri $62,240
Montana $42,700
Nebraska $46,740
Nevada $56,580
New Hampshire $49,630
New Jersey $75,750
New Mexico $52,880
New York $73,850
North Carolina $47,200
North Dakota $49,160
Ohio $57,220
Oklahoma $46,840
Oregon $49,850
Pennsylvania $53,840
Rhode Island $63,030
South Carolina $49,380
South Dakota $50,100
Tennessee $49,920
Texas $57,150
Utah $48,320
Vermont $58,840
Virginia $63,140
Washington $65,790
Wisconsin $50,610
Wyoming $44,750

Tools & Technologies Used by Curators

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Curators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Scheduling software
  • Graphics software
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Freehand
  • Microsoft Paint
  • PastPerfect Software PastPerfect
  • Questor Systems ARGUS

Becoming a Curator

Learn what Curator education requirements there are.

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Who Employs Curators?

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Curators work in the following industries:

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Those interested in being a Curator may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Curator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

Image Credit: Jorge Royan via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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