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Curator of Exhibits Job Description

The Curator of Exhibits is responsible for the visual presentation and interpretation of the exhibits placed in the Museum.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • The Curator conducts research and prepares concept scripts, conceptual designs and detail designs, incorporating all media necessary to interpret an exhibit’s key messages.
  • The Curator plans and designs or supervises the planning and design of all museum exhibits.
  • The Curator administers contracts, schedules and budgets./li>
  • The Curator prepares sketches, models, detailed working drawings and specifications as required.
  • The Curator is required to have a Bachelor’s Degree but a Master’s Degree is preferred in museum studies, history and related fields.

The Curator works with the Senior Curator planning and designing of all the museum exhibits and registrars, incorporating the museum’s collections as much as possible. The Curator will also interface with the museum’s Senior Historian and the Collections and Exhibits Committee. The Curator administers contracts, schedules and budgets. Part of taking care of the exhibit is labeling so the Curator is the one who produces exhibit text labels, and manages their translation into Spanish (other languages) as required in bilingual presentations.

The Curator must keep up-to-date with the latest developments in exhibit design concepts, techniques, technology, innovations, and all the things new that pertain to the museum. The Curator is the one who prepares sketches, models, detailed working drawings and specifications as required. The Curator manages all aspects of the changing exhibition schedule to ensure downtime between exhibits is managed to avoid a negative impact on the visitor and educational experience.

The Curator knows when to update displays and interpretive materials and plans for renovation or up upgrade interiors, equipment and furniture, as needed in order to make the exhibit more appealing. The Curator works with the Registrar and Senior Curator to plan future acquisitions and loans to the collection. The Curator must cultivate collaboration and networking with regional resources that have objects and materials available to loan or donate to the museum’s exhibitions. The Curator demonstrates knowledge of historic preservation as related to the placement of exhibits in history properties. The Curator is also obligated to carry out duties as needed or assigned during annual fundraising events, large-scale public programs, and special events. The Curator must act as manager on duty as assigned on weekend rotation of duty. The Curator must make them available to the general public to answer questions about exhibits. Often schools and other groups may schedule a tour of the museum during particular seasons and exhibits the Curator then must conduct some of these tours. It is very beneficial to the museum to have someone on board to conduct tours with groups that can be informative that is why it is important that the Curator makes themselves available for all such tours.

The Curator must demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills. Since the Curator is responsible for some of the tours, engaging in fundraising, and other events it is important that they have good speaking skills. The Curator may also be needed to make advertising brochures, postcards, and invitation to promote the exhibits that are new to the museum. The ability to create these things is vital in order to raise money for the museum. Most Curator’s have a Master’s degree in museum studies, history or related fields. The Curator may have experience in the field which would take substitute for graduate degree. The Curator needs to be able to use the computer for research as their skills in research must be very strong.

The Curator must demonstrate the ability to organize, present, and communicate messages effectively through design. Many messages are directed to supporters of the museum and therefore must be very effective and supportive of their opinions and views. The Curator must be able to get done the necessary things in accordance with the exhibits but still please the supporters. The Curator soon finds themselves in the middle of multi-tasking and trying to reach a deadline. Their ability to complete the exhibit for showing on time is imperative. The Curator uses Auto CAD or other design software at times to help complete the exhibit. The knowledge of and experience in using the latest technological trends in interpretation, security, lighting and sound effects are vital to the Curator.

Degrees and Training to Become a Curator of Exhibits

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