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How to become a Curator

Curators are responsible for the collections in museums, galleries, and other cultural and research institutions. Their job involves researching and purchasing new items, keeping thorough records and catalogues, finding ways to preserve exhibits, as well as creating innovative, appealing, and educational displays for the public.

Are you passionate about art, culture, history, or education? Are you creative, organised, and want to share your passions with a wide range of people? Then working as a curator could be fantastic job for you.

What skills do I need as a curator?

  • Creative & inventive
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Organised & methodical
  • Great attention to detail
  • Excellent research skills
  • Good team worker
  • Decisive leader
  • Can manage resources effectively

What tasks can I expect to do?

  • Find and purchase new collections
  • Research and identify items
  • Explore ways to exhibit or preserve items
  • Prepare labels and catalogue items
  • Keep detailed records
  • Arrange restoration works
  • Design exhibitions or installations
  • Write grant applications and fundraise
  • Manage staff and volunteers
  • Create educational and promotional material
  • Collaborate with other archival professionals

What industries do curators typically work in?

  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Public Administration and Safety
  • Health Care and Social Assistance

What kind of lifestyle can I expect as a curator?

There are lots of part-time opportunities available for curators, and you can expect to work during regular business hours. However, this is a fairly small profession, so job opportunities can be limited and competitive.

Curators are most commonly found in galleries and museums, but you could also be working with collections in a range of other locations, including zoos and aquariums, council buildings, hospitals, universities, parks, gardens, historical sites, retail areas, or hospitality venues. You could even be setting up exhibitions in disused shop fronts, abandoned storage areas, at the beach, or in a residential home.

You may also have the opportunity to travel, work on site, or go on research trips. Some of your work could also be done remotely and online, meaning that you could work from home.

Most curators earn an average wage.

How to become a curator

To become a curator, you typically need a bachelor or master’s degree in library science, arts, history, or a related field. Additionally, specialised training in archives, records management, or museum studies is often required.

This training may include coursework in preservation techniques, collection management, and information technology. Internships and hands-on experience in the field can also be valuable for gaining practical skills and knowledge.

If you’re in high school now and are thinking of becoming a curator, here are some steps you could take:

  • Choose high school subjects that reflect your interests and will help you meet any university course prerequisites.
  • Vocational qualifications could be a pathway into a degree if you’d like to test the waters first. Your studies could even count towards your university degree (though this will depend on the university and course).
  • Volunteering or work experience are great ways to network and give your resume a boost. You could also look at internships as a way of getting your foot in the door.

Find out more:

Similar careers to curator

  • Producer
  • Artist
  • Archivist
  • Collections Manager
  • Librarian
  • Interpreter
  • Event Planner

Find out more about alternative careers.

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