Curators oversee collections in many places, such as museums, zoos, gardens and historic sites. They make purchases, receive gifts, and arrange for exchanges of items with other museums and collectors. Curators plan and prepare exhibits to show the collections. Part of their job may include describing items and classifying species. It is becoming more common for curators to help with grant writing and fund raising to support their projects.

Working Conditions

Curators may need to travel and overtime is sometimes required.


The average annual salary for curators is $55,000, but can vary widely depending on the type of job and size of the employer.

Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study

English, art and art history, chemistry, history and archaeology classes will be helpful for this job. Knowledge of a foreign language is a skill which is beneficial for someone in this occupation.

Related Jobs

Archivists and museum technicians and conservators also preserve, organize and display objects or information of historical interest. Other occupations that use similar skills are anthropologists, arborists, archaeologists, botanists, ethnologists, folklorists, genealogists, historians, horticulturists, information specialists, librarians, paintings restorers, records managers and zoologists.

Education & Training

Graduate education and hands-on experience are usually required for this job.

Job Outlook

There will be stiff competition for these jobs. Many people work part time, as an intern or even as a volunteer curator after completing their formal education. Job opportunities should be best in art and history museums.

Sources for Additional Information

American Association of Museums
1575 I Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005