Summary Report for:
25-4012.00 - 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.
Sample of reported job titles: Collections Curator, Collections Manager, Curator, Education Curator, Exhibitions Curator, Exhibits Curator, Museum Curator, Photography Curator, Vertebrate Zoology Curator
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
- 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.
- Write and review grant proposals, journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.
- Design, organize, or conduct tours, workshops, and instructional or educational sessions to acquaint individuals with an institution's facilities and materials.
- Attend meetings, conventions, and civic events to promote use of institution's services, to seek financing, and to maintain community alliances.
- Train and supervise curatorial, fiscal, technical, research, and clerical staff, as well as volunteers or interns.
- Confer with the board of directors to formulate and interpret policies, to determine budget requirements, and to plan overall operations.
- Arrange insurance coverage for objects on loan or for special exhibits and recommend changes in coverage for the entire collection.
- Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Data base user interface and query software — Artsystems Collections; FileMaker Pro; Gallery Systems EmbARK; Microsoft Access (see all 14 examples)
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
- Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Studio
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Freehand; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Graphics software; Microsoft Paint
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect; Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Eloquent Systems Eloquent
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Claw hammer — Claw hammers
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Handheld thermometer — Handheld digital thermometers
- Levels — Precision levels
- Lightmeters — Light meters
- Mat cutter — Mat cutters
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Paint brushes
- Personal computers
- Power drills
- Rulers — Precision rulers
- Scanners — Digitizers
- Screwdrivers — Slotted screwdrivers
- T squares
- Two way radios
- Utility knives — Precision knives
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- History and Archeology — Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
- Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Philosophy and Theology — Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Management of Material Resources — Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Detailed Work Activities
- Order instructional or library materials or equipment.
- Construct exhibits or parts of exhibits.
- Develop library or archival databases.
- Research topics in area of expertise.
- Provide information to the general public.
- Evaluate characteristics of archival or historical objects.
- Negotiate purchases or contracts.
- Plan community programs or activities for the general public.
- Evaluate scholarly materials.
- Write articles, books or other original materials in area of expertise.
- Write grant proposals.
- Direct activities of subordinates.
- Promote educational institutions or programs.
- Train staff members.
- Confer with others to conduct or arrange operational activities.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Electronic Mail — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 74% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Telephone — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 69% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 50% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 37% responded “Important results.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 57% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 34% responded “High responsibility.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 51% responded “More than half the time.”
- Level of Competition — 35% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Time Pressure — 50% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Interest code: EC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$27.40 hourly, $56,990 annual|
|Employment (2019)||14,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)||Much faster than average (8% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||1,800|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2019-2029 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Alliance of Museums
- American Association for State and Local History
- American Ornithological Society
- Association of Art Museum Curators
- Association of Historians of American Art
- Association of Science-Technology Centers
- College Art Association
- Museum Computer Network
- National Association for Museum Exhibition
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Archivists, curators, and museum workers
- Paleontological Society
- Society for Industrial Archeology
- Society of American Archivists
- The Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums
- The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
- Victorian Society in America