Curator Career

Job 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.


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What Curators do:

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

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Holland Code Chart for a Curator