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How to Become a Curator

By The Arty Teacher - November 6, 2023

What is a Curator?

A curator is a professional responsible for selecting, organizing, and caring for collections of artworks, historical artifacts, or cultural items in museums and galleries. They have to decide what art or artifacts are shown, and how to engage the public. They often conduct research and write the information that visitors read which brings the exhibition to life.

What Skills does a Curator need?

To become a curator, you need a love for art and history, attention to detail, and a desire to choose and take care of art and artifacts and to share their stories with others. It’s like being a guardian of cool and interesting stuff!

What Qualification does a Curator Need?

Most curators have a master’s degree in subjects such as art history, museum studies or anthropology. This provides in-depth knowledge of art, culture, and museum best practices. Practical experience is essential, often gained through internships, volunteer work, or entry-level positions in museums, galleries, or cultural institutions.

Curators must possess strong research and organisational skills, as well as the ability to curate exhibitions, manage collections, and engage with diverse audiences. Communication and teamwork are also critical, as curators often collaborate with colleagues, artists, donors, and the public.

What Can You Do Now to Build a CV to Become a Curator?

  • Art and History Courses: Enroll in art history, museum studies, or history courses to build foundational knowledge about different art movements, historical periods, and cultural contexts.
  • Visit Museums and Galleries: Take advantage of opportunities to visit museums, galleries, and exhibitions. Analyse curated collections, observe how artworks are displayed, and note curatorial techniques.
  • Internships or Volunteer Work: Seek internships or volunteer opportunities at local museums, galleries, or cultural institutions. Even assisting during school events can provide exposure to curation-related tasks.
  • Curate School Exhibits: Propose, organise, or assist in curating small exhibitions within the school. This could involve selecting artworks, arranging displays, and writing explanatory text.
  • Research and Writing: Hone research and writing skills by delving into art history topics, writing papers, or contributing to school publications related to art, culture, or history.
  • Network and Engage: Attend lectures, workshops, or seminars related to museum studies, art history, or cultural heritage to meet professionals and gain insights into the field.
  • Build a Portfolio: Document any relevant experiences, school projects, essays, or curated exhibitions to compile into a portfolio showcasing your interest in art, curation, and research.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with art news, trends, and developments in the museum and art world by reading art publications, following museum blogs, and staying engaged with current cultural discussions.

By actively participating in these activities and gaining relevant experiences, a student can lay the groundwork for a future career as a curator.

Learn more about Art Careers.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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