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Museum curator

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

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: weekends; on a rota

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Museum curator jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • select, buy or borrow items
  • research, identify and catalogue collections
  • make sure exhibits are safe, stored securely and in the right conditions
  • arrange conservation and restoration
  • help visitors to interpret and enjoy exhibits and collections
  • organise publicity and fundraising
  • give talks
  • train or supervise gallery or museum volunteers or paid staff
  • negotiate funding and the loan of exhibits

Working environment

You could work in a museum or at an art gallery.

Your working environment may be physically active.

You can get into this job through:

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

You'll often need a degree in a relevant subject like:

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

You might also find it useful to have a postgraduate qualification in museum and gallery studies, or in a particular style or period of art or history.

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
For more information

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

This could lead into museum or gallery assistant or educator 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
For more information

Most people begin their career as an assistant curator, conservator or education manager before becoming a museum or gallery curator.

More information

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 or gallery curator from the Museums Association.

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You could work in small independent museums and galleries to large public sector and national institutions like the Tate or British Museum.

There are lots of different opportunities to move on in the sector from business management to public engagement and education roles. You will need to plan your continuous professional development and take advantage of the training available in the sector to advance your career.

The Museums Association and Creative Choices have more information about this job.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • business management skills
  • knowledge of how to teach and engage learners
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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