What Do Curators Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Curators 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. They also 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.

Other tasks include:

  • Develop and maintain an institution’s registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.
  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Provide information from the institution’s holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Negotiate and authorize purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.
  • Inspect premises to assess the need for repairs and to ensure that climate and pest control issues are addressed.

We asked Curators how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

68%

How meaningful is this job

60%


68% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Curators train and supervise curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns. They 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.

  • 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.
  • Provide information from the institution’s holdings to other curators and to the public.
  • Plan and conduct special research projects in area of interest or expertise.
  • Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.

We asked some Curators a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?97% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?22% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?80% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?41% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?1% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?34% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Curators also design, organize, or conduct tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution’s facilities and materials. They may also write and review grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Curators Provide information from the institution’s holdings to other curators and to the public. They might also Negotiate and authorize purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections.

In addition, they 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.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Develop and maintain an institution’s registration, cataloging, and basic record-keeping systems, using computer databases.

To some Curators, it is also their responsibility to Study, examine, and test acquisitions to authenticate their origin, composition, history, and to assess their current value.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Curator, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Curators work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
69%


Once a week
19%


Do Curators work outdoors?

Never
46%


Once a year
22%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Entrepreneurs and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Curators

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Related to Curators Job Description

Curators job description, what do Curators do, typical day for Curators, what is it like to work as a Curator, how many hours do Curators work, day to day work of a Curator

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and-conservators.htm
http://www.archivists.org/
http://www.certifiedarchivists.org/
http://www.arcsinfo.org/


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