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Curator

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What is a Curator?

Career 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.

Daily Life Of a Curator

  • Provide information from the institution’s holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Establish specifications for reproductions and oversee their manufacture or select items from commercially available replica sources.
  • Arrange insurance coverage for objects on loan or for special exhibits and recommend changes in coverage for the entire collection.
  • Design, organize, or conduct tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution’s facilities and materials.
  • Inspect premises to assess the need for repairs and to ensure that climate and pest control issues are addressed.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.

Qualities of a Curator

Below is a list of the skills most Curators say are important on the job.

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

  • Exhibits Curator
  • Vertebrate Zoology Curator
  • Educational Institution Curator
  • Educational Resource Coordinator
  • Philatelist

Curator Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 12,400 jobs in the United States for Curator. 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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,500 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Curators in U.S.

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.

Salary for a Curator

The typical yearly salary for Curators is somewhere between $29,010 and $94,330.

Salary Ranges for Curators

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

What Tools do Curators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Curators:

  • 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

Individuals working as a Curator have obtained the following education levels:

Curator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Curator?

Curator Work Experience

Where Curators Work

Curator Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Curator Industries

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

Are you already one of the many Curator in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

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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