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Museum 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 a Museum Curator. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Museum Curator
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Museum Curator Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Museum curators are responsible for managing collections of objects of artistic, scientific, historical and general interest. In a large museum they might be involved in one specialism, while in a small general museum they have a broader role. The main role is to acquire objects, and to research, identify, and catalogue them, usually on computer. Curators are also responsible for ensuring correct storage conditions.

Providing information is an important part of the job - organising displays, writing descriptions of objects, answering visitors̢۪ questions and giving talks to local groups or school parties. Museums are part of the leisure industry, so information combines entertainment and education, presented in an appealing and accessible way. Therefore, attracting visitors is crucial to the work. Other duties include looking after staff issues, security and insurance, and deciding 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 museum and how busy it is, but work is usually indoors.There is some lifting and carrying involved, moving crates and boxes of exhibits. A driving licence is often necessary.

Skills and Interests

To be a museum curator you should have:

  • a keen interest in the past and in the specialist area youre working in
  • good organisational ability, and be capable of running a department or establishment
  • accuracy for cataloguing objects
  • computer skills for information retrieval
  • decision-making and numerical skills for planning, administration and handling budgets
  • creative flair for devising displays and exhibitions
  • strong communication skills
  • an understanding of how to make information accessible to the wider public, including tourists, people with disabilities, various education groups and schools.


To become a curator you will usually need a degree, followed by a post-graduate professional qualification. If you want to specialize in a particular area, such as fine art or archeology, it helps to have a degree in a relevant subject. The postgraduate qualification could be a certificate, a diploma or a masters degree in museum or heritage studies.

The Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation (CHNTO) website has a database of the courses it validates.

The Museums Association also has a list of the courses that it recognises as a qualifying route for Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA).

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. Some courses specify particular subjects and grades.

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 gain entry to postgraduate courses, in addition to having a degree, you will also usually be expected to have relevant experience, which could be gained through voluntary work. Addresses of museums can be found in The Museums Yearbook, which is published annually by the Museums Association. This should be available in reference libraries. The Museums Association website has advice on finding voluntary opportunities. As with degree courses, you should check with universities for their entry requirements.


NVQs/SVQs currently available are Heritage Care and Visitor Services Level 2, Cultural Heritage Operations Level 3, Cultural Heritage Level 4, and Cultural Heritage Management Level 5.

The Museums Association offers a programme of professional development courses for experienced staff, leading to the Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA).

There is a variety of in-service courses run by area museums councils. Details of the councils are on the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council website.

CHNTO has developed a graduate and postgraduate apprenticeship framework. This is for people already working in galleries or museums. The aim is to provide them with an academic qualification and some skills training at the same time. Please contact CHNTO for details.

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 museums funded by the government, regional and local museums funded by local authorities, university museums, and independent and specialist museums.You may need to move around the country to gain experience and progress, especially if working in a smaller museum with fewer opportunities for promotion.

There may also be opportunities to work overseas.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only. Pay scales vary for curators depending on whether they work for a large national museum or a small local one.

New entrants are likely to start on around £10,000 to £14,000 per year.
With experience, earnings rise to more than £20,000.
Senior curators are likely to earn between £27,000 and £36,000 per year.

Salaries in London are usually higher.

Further information

Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation (CHNTO) *

Museums Association
24 Calvin St
E1 6NW
Tel: 020 7426 6970

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
16 Queen Annes Gate
Tel: 020 7273 1444

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:

Other Useful Museum Curator Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Museum 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.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Museum Curator Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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