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Career Profile: Curators

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 13,400 people employed as curators in the United States. The median annual salary is $57,000. Entry level employees earn approximately $33,370 per year and senior employees earn approximately $96,820 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Schedule events and organize details, including refreshment, entertainment, decorations, and the collection of any fees.
  • Establish specifications for reproductions and oversee their manufacture or select items from commercially available replica sources.
  • Provide information from the institution's holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Negotiate and authorize purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.
  • Inspect premises to assess the need for repairs and to ensure that climate and pest control issues are addressed.
  • Write and review grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.
  • Design, organize, or conduct tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution's facilities and materials.
  • Attend meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution's services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.
  • Train and supervise curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns.
  • Plan 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.
  • Develop and maintain an institution's registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Confer with the board of directors to formulate and interpret policies, to determine budget requirements, and to plan overall operations.
  • Arrange insurance coverage for objects on loan or for special exhibits and recommend changes in coverage for the entire collection.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
13,400
Annual Openings:
1,900
Increase in Openings by 2030:
22%
Annual Salary Range:
$33,370 - $96,820
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher