How To Become a Museum Curator: Step-By-Step Career Guide

To become a curator at a national museum, a PhD is required, as is about five years of field experience. The market is competitive, and academic standards are very high. Useful graduate degrees include restoration science, curatorship, art history, history, chemistry, and business administration.

Because they preserve society’s shared history, celebrate culture, and impart knowledge to people of all ages, museums are significant institutions. They are also major economic contributors, giving the U.S. $50 billion a year. S. economy. 1 As you might anticipate, museums depend on a talented group of committed professionals to run smoothly and keep serving the public.

How do you get to be a museum curator?

The average salary for museum curators

If you want to start a career as a museum curator, follow these simple steps to do so:

1. Get your bachelors degree

To become a museum curator, youll need a bachelors degree. A bachelor’s degree in fine arts provides a solid educational foundation in both practical art skills and art history if you want to work in the field of the arts. A degree in a field related to one of those would be a wise choice if you intend to work in a science or history museum.

Through internships and externships, you can start to gain experience while pursuing your bachelor’s degree. Additionally, by doing this, you’ll build your network, which will help you find employment after graduation.

2. Get a masters degree or higher

If you want to work in museum administration, it’s a good idea to pursue a master’s degree or higher. If you decide to work in a museum, your Master of Fine Arts will provide you with a practical education and a wealth of practical experience in curating art exhibitions for galleries. People pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree are frequently in charge of scheduling art exhibits, getting their own work displayed in galleries, and more.

A master’s degree in business administration may be useful if you want to work in a museum that is not an art museum, such as one that is dedicated to the natural sciences or history.

3. Develop related skills

There are several administrative and curation-related skills to master. Here are some to think about learning in class or at work:

4. Gain experience

Numerous opportunities for internships and externships will be presented to you throughout your education to give you the chance to gain practical experience. Make sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

Look for management or administrative positions that allow you to gain experience in philanthropy, art, science, history, or any other field that can give you knowledge of the kinds of exhibits you might find in a museum.

Look for volunteer opportunities because museums are always in need of more assistance. In the nonprofit and philanthropy sector, unpaid positions like volunteering can provide invaluable experience and networking opportunities.

5. Get hired as a museum curator

Apply for jobs once you have the necessary education, experience, and skill development to work as a museum curator. You can find museum curator jobs in your area by using a website like Indeed Job Search.

Before applying, prepare your resume by including all relevant experience and creating a cover letter that is specific to the position you are seeking. One thing to think about is choosing keywords from the job description and incorporating them into your resume and cover letter.

What does a museum curator do?

Curators of museums create, mount, and arrange exhibits like an art or history display. They negotiate the purchase of artwork and arrange for its installation during the day. A museum curator may focus on a particular genre of art or work more broadly in institutions that host a range of exhibits.

Curators are in charge of organizing events, lectures, workshops, and other activities centered around the works of art and exhibits in addition to overseeing the administration of the museum. In order to create the best experience for visitors who enjoy art and other museum installations, a museum curator collaborates with administrators, artists, and museum-goers.

FAQs about museum curators

Before becoming a museum curator, take into account the following frequently asked questions:

How long does it take to become a museum curator?

Getting a job as a museum curator can take anywhere between five and ten years on average. Despite the possibility of entry-level positions, most jobs for museum curators are management-level positions. The typical requirement to become a museum curator is six years of formal education and three to five years of professional experience.

Whats the job outlook for museum curators?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that museum curators will see faster job growth than the average industry through 2028, at 9%.

What skills are related to becoming a museum curator?

In addition to the abilities listed in this article, you should work on the following crucial abilities if you want to work as a museum curator:


Is it difficult to become a museum curator?

You’ll frequently need both a Ph.D. and experience to work as a lead curator at a large museum. D. and several years of field experience. Many curators did not initially intend to enter the field of curation because it can be time-consuming and challenging.

Do art curators make good money?

Art Curator Salary According to the U. S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018, the median annual salary for art curators is $53. 780. Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $86,480. Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $27,190.

What do museum curators major in?

Most museums demand that curators possess a master’s degree in museum studies, art, history, science, or another relevant field of the institution’s specialization. Some employers, particularly for positions in natural history or science museums, prefer that curators have doctoral degrees.

How do I become a Smithsonian curator?

The chosen candidate must have a passion for the humanities and be able to collaborate with others who share these interests in these fields. The chosen candidate should have prior expertise in programs that promote public understanding of science and technology, exhibition curation, or both.

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