Museum curator

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Museum curators manage collections of objects of artistic, scientific, historical and general interest.

Salary range: £20,000 to £40,000

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How to become a museum curator

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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University

You’ll usually need a degree and a postgraduate or professional qualification relevant to your area of interest to become a curator. Subjects include:

  • museum or heritage studies
  • archaeology or ancient history
  • classics
  • natural sciences
  • anthropology
  • education

Paid or unpaid work experience in a museum, gallery or heritage property is usually essential to apply for courses and jobs.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing an advanced apprenticeship in heritage and cultural operations.

This could lead into museum assistant jobs. With further training and several years’ experience, you could apply for curator roles.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Work

You could work as an assistant curator, conservator or education manager before becoming a museum curator.

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Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Museums Association for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a museum curator from the Museums Association and Creative Choices.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • selecting, buying or borrowing items
  • organising records, catalogues and indexes
  • making sure exhibits are stored under the right conditions
  • arranging conservation and restoration
  • helping visitors to interpret and enjoy exhibits and collections
  • organising publicity and fundraising
  • giving talks

Working environment

You could work in a museum.

You may need to wear a uniform.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to senior curator.