How to become a Museum Curator

Museum Curator

Museum curators look after, manage, organise, display and develop museum collections, and conduct related research. Museum curators usually specialise in a broad discipline, such as anthropology, art, decorative arts, natural history, social history, science or technology. Within that discipline they are generally recognised as authorities on one or more specific subject areas.

Personal requirements for a Museum Curator

  • Appreciation of the history of science, the environment or the arts
  • Patient
  • Able to pay attention to detail
  • An objective, methodical approach to work
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • A good imagination
  • Aptitude for research

Education & Training for a Museum Curator

To become a museum curator you usually have to complete an arts or science degree at university with a major in a relevant area, such as anthropology, archaeology, fine arts, history, cultural studies, astronomy, biology or environmental science (preferably at honours level), followed by a postgraduate qualification in museum studies, curatorship or cultural heritage management. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree and may require previous museum experience. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Duties & Tasks of a Museum Curator

Museum curators:

  • Acquire items for the collections in their care
  • Examine items to determine condition and authenticity
  • Identify and classify specimens, and arrange conservation and restoration work
  • Maintain records about all items in the collection
  • Organise and participate in display teams, which may involve travelling or arranging for loan exhibitions, or overseeing the organisation of in-house temporary exhibitions or displays
  • Initiate and maintain research and publication programs
  • Establish networks and assist other professionals on request
  • Lecture and write about collections and answer public enquiries
  • Supervise support staff and organise administrative duties associated with the use and care of collections.

Tasks

  • Researches items in displays and produces publications, delivers public lecturers and initiates exhibitions..
  • Examines items and arranges examinations to determine condition and authenticity..
  • Arranges the layout and lighting of historical, scientific or art displays..
  • Plans and organises the acquisition and display of material..
  • Manages organisations' central records systems..
  • Identifies and classifies specimens and objects, and arranges restoration work..

Working conditions for a Museum Curator

They generally work indoors in museums and art galleries, but they may be required to travel extensively on field study. In small museums, one curator may be responsible for the management of the entire institution and its collections.


Employment Opportunities for a Museum Curator

Curators may be required to travel to seek work.


Specializations

Museum Curator

Museum curators look after, manage, organise, display and develop museum collections, and conduct related research. Museum curators usually specialise in a broad discipline, such as anthropology, art, decorative arts, natural history, social history, science or technology. Within that discipline they are generally recognised as authorities on one or more specific subject areas.

  • Average age
    Average age
    46 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Decline
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    68% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,812
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    67% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,100 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 12.6%
    NSW: 26.9%
    NT: 1.9%
    QLD: 11.1%
    SA: 6.3%
    TAS: 4.3%
    VIC: 27.1%
    WA: 9.9%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 1.3%
    25-34: 18%
    35-44: 26.5%
    45-54: 28%
    55-59: 12.2%
    60-64: 7.8%
    65 and Over: 6.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 4.9%
    Bachelor degree: 31.7%
    Certificate III/IV: 2.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 55.8%
    Year 10 and below: 0.6%
    Year 11: 0.4%
    Year 12: 4.2%
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