What does a Curator do?

Curators keep and maintain collections for institutions including museums, universities, or government facilities and tend to the various items and many types of objects found within their collections, which could be items including historical artifacts, sports memorabilia, or works of art. Curators often direct the acquisition of works and collections and serve as supervisors of relevant staff members. As preservationists, curators care for important items, documents, and entire collections that include historical transcripts, artwork, photography, and other important historical or artistic paraphernalia.

Curators will sometimes negotiate the price or acquisition of a collection as well as the lending out of in-house materials to other institutions. Staff members, including technicians, researchers, and clerical workers, consult with them to ensure the items in the collection are properly catalogued or registered with the correct entities. They are writers of grant proposals to receive funding for their institutions, and some provide copy for academic journals. They also promote their institution to the public by advertising their collections, conducting tours, and organizing workshops. Curators need a master’s degree in art history, archaeology, or museum studies.

What responsibilities are common for Curator jobs?
  • Assist maintenance or other personnel in the repair and maintenance of facilities and/or equipment.
What are the typical qualifications for Curator jobs?
  • Demonstrated careful attention to detail.
Work/Life Balance
3.6 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.2 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Curator make near United States?

$79,624 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
See More Insights

Curator Career Path

Learn how to become a Curator, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Senior Curator
Lead Curator

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Curator Insights

Read what Curator professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Gallery Assistant
Jul 31, 2022

“Staff really cared and worked around my personal limitations and helped me get back to work”

Blue Rhino Art Consultancy
Assistant Curator
Mar 22, 2022

“Was a good entry level internship and learning opportunity being able to work on multiple projects.”

Merlin EntertainmentsMerlin Entertainments
Assistant Curator
Oct 4, 2021

“Little money spent on displays and understaffed and overworked.”

Miami Children's MuseumMiami Children's Museum
Museum Educator
Aug 14, 2022

“I really enjoyed the fun and lively atmosphere while working.”

Willow Street PicturesWillow Street Pictures
Gallery Assistant
Jul 27, 2022

“I met some nice and great clients.”

Surrey County Cricket ClubSurrey County Cricket Club
Art Gallery Assistant
Sep 14, 2022

“I love cricket and therefore being able to work and be close alongside cricket was a real bonus.”

BBA GalleryBBA Gallery
Gallery Assistant
Apr 6, 2023

“Coworkers were absolutely amazing and were the best part of my time here!”

WFG National Title InsuranceWFG National Title Insurance
Title Curative Specialist
Mar 3, 2022

“Last minute layoff was really inconvenient”

See More

Curator Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of curators

Curators spend their workday designing, installing, and arranging museum exhibits and installations. They can work in a specialized area like art, history, or science or in a museum with a variety of exhibits. Curators also spend their time negotiating for and acquiring unique works of art or historical artifacts and planning how to display them.

Yes, curation is a good career. The role can be satisfying, as it provides individuals an opportunity to learn continuously, to offer their expertise and artistic opinions to highlight works of art or to help communicate an overall aesthetic. Curators typically have regular working hours but may work after hours preparing an exhibit or hosting an event for museum donors.

Yes, successful curators get paid well. The average salary for a curator in the United States is $79,624 per year. The pay for in this field varies depending on their years of experience, the level of education, and their specialization.

Working as a curator can be demanding, as the role involves working long hours occasionally to meet deadlines, and may require handling several projects at once. Curators work with many individuals. So if you're thinking about becoming a curator, strong communication and interpersonal skills are a must have.

Related Careers

Client Services Representative
13% skills overlap
Research Assistant
No skills overlap
Teaching Assistant
13% skills overlap

Curator Jobs