Curator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Curators Career Video



Administers 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.

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


A person in this career:

  • Plans and organize the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections and related materials, including the selection of exhibition themes and designs, and develop or install exhibit materials.
  • Develops and maintain an institution's registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Plans and conducts special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Provides information from the institution's holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Studies, examines, and tests acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.
  • Negotiates and authorizes purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Inspects premises to assess the need for repairs and to ensure that climate and pest control issues are addressed.
  • Designs, organizes, or conducts tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution's facilities and materials.
  • Writes and reviews grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.
  • Attends meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution's services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.

Insider Info

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



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):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • 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:

  • Associate Curator --
  • Collections Curator -- Administers collections, such as artwork, collectibles, historic items, or scientific specimens of museums or other institutions.
  • Collections Manager --
  • Curator of Collections --
  • Curator of Education --
  • Exhibitions Curator --
  • Exhibits Curator --
  • Gallery Director --
  • Museum Curator --