Art Gallery Curator Profile
This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Art Gallery Curator. This page details the following Information:-
- Finding Suitable Work as an Art Gallery Curator
- Working Duties Expected
- Hours and Environment
- Working Skills Required
- Training Requirements
- Salary Expectations
- Trade Information
- Other useful Art Gallery Curator Work Information
Finding Suitable Work
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Working Duties Expected
Art gallery curators are responsible for managing collections of objects of artistic, historical and general interest. In a large gallery they might specialise, perhaps in art history, while in a smaller gallery they would have a broader role. Much of the job involves acquiring objects, researching, and identifying and cataloguing them, often on computer. Curators are also responsible for ensuring the correct storage conditions.
Providing information is an important part of the job - organising displays, writing descriptions of objects, answering visitorsâ€™ questions and giving talks to local groups or school parties. Attracting visitors is crucial. A curator in a larger gallery or museum may have responsibility for a specific area of the programme, for example attracting young people, or ensuring that the exhibitions are accessible to disabled visitors. Other duties might include attending to staff issues, security and insurance, and making decisions on policy.
Hours and Environment
Work is usually 36-37 hours a week on a rota, probably with some weekend work. There could be the opportunity to work part-time.
The environment depends on the type of gallery and how busy it is, but work is usually indoors. There is some lifting and carrying involved, moving crates and boxes of exhibits or paintings. A driving licence is often necessary.
Skills and Interests
To be an art gallery curator you should have:
a keen interest in the specialist area you are working in
good organisational ability, and be capable of running a department or establishment
accuracy for cataloguing objects, and have computer skills
decision-making and numerical skills for planning, administration and handling budgets
creative flair for devising displays and exhibitions
strong communication skills for dealing with the public, giving talks and producing information, and for working with colleagues.
There is no upper age limit. You normally need a degree in a relevant subject such as art or art history. Minimum entry requirements for degree courses are five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) and two A levels/Advanced Highers/three Higher grades, or their equivalent such as AS levels, a BTEC/SQA national diploma/certificate, or AVCEs. Some courses specify particular subjects and grades. Check with individual institutions.
For details of qualification equivalents see:
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.
To become a curator, you are also likely to need a postgraduate qualification, which usually takes one year to complete. Details are available from the Cultural Heritage NTO. Sothebys and Christies also each run nine-month full-time courses in Works of Art and Fine Arts respectively.
You will also need some voluntary work experience in a gallery environment or heritage property. As a volunteer or student on work placement you may be able to register for one or more NVQ/SVQ units to provide evidence of your experience.
Some galleries recruit from outside the profession, including people experienced in accountancy, administration or marketing.
NVQs/SVQs are available at Levels 3, 4 and 5 in Cultural Heritage Operations, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Heritage Management.
Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).
Employers include national galleries, local authorities, universities and independent companies.There may be opportunities to work overseas.
Figures are intended as a guideline only. Pay scales vary for curators depending on whether they work for a large national gallery or a small local one.
New entrants are likely to start on around £10,000 to £14,000 a year.
With experience, earnings rise to more than £20,000.
Senior curators are likely to earn between £27,000 and £36,000.
High standards of performance can lead to much higher salaries. Private galleries often pay a basic salary with commission on sales. Salaries in London are usually higher.
Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation *
Tel: 0800 093 0444
Engage in the Visual Arts
108 Old Brompton Road
Tel: 020 7244 0110
* PLEASE NOTE
National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.
The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website: www.ssda.org.uk
Other Useful Art Gallery Curator Work Information
We have a section available at this site on Art Gallery Curator job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.
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Details of other Art Gallery Curator Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
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