Art Gallery Curator
Art gallery curators manage collections of paintings and objects of artistic, historical and
As an art gallery curator, your work would include:
researching, identifying and cataloguing paintings and other items
making sure paintings and other items are stored in the right conditions
organising displays and exhibitions
answering visitors' questions
giving talks to groups or school parties
finding ways of attracting visitors to the gallery
negotiating funding and the loan of paintings and other items.
You may also be responsible for supervising or managing staff or other tasks such as
insurance, security and publicity.
You would usually need a degree in a relevant subject such as art or art history. Many
curators also have a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters diploma or certificate. It
is possible to study for a postgraduate qualification part-time or by distance learning which
can be combined with paid or unpaid work. Postgraduate study offers you an opportunity
to specialise in topics including museum studies or in a particular style or period of art.
Before you begin looking for a job, it is advisable to gain some volunteering
experience in a gallery or heritage property. The Museums Association website has
information on finding volunteering opportunities and publishes the Museum
Yearbook each year..Museums Association
You would usually work around 36 hours a week, probably with some weekend and
evening work. Part-time work may be available.
You may have to do some lifting and carrying, moving crates and boxes of exhibits or
Skills and Knowledge
a keen interest in art, and possibly in a specialist area
good organisational skills
the ability to manage people and resources
a careful approach and a high level of attention to detail
creative flair for devising displays and exhibitions
a good standard of written English
strong communication and 'people' skills for dealing with the public, giving talks and
Training and Development
Once you are working as an art gallery curator you can work towards the following
NVQ Level 3 in Cultural Heritage Operations
NVQ Level 4 in Cultural Heritage
NVQ Level 5 in Cultural Heritage Management.
You can add to your skills and knowledge by attending short courses run, for example, by
museums and galleries, private training providers and specialist organisations.
You can also become a member of the Museums Association and undertake their
Registration Scheme which takes two to three years.Museums Association
24 Calvin Street
Sotheby's Institute of Art
Creative and Cultural Skills
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
You could work in galleries ranging from large public sector and national institutions, such
as the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery, to very small independent galleries. Many
universities also have galleries, and some large companies employ curators for their art
collections. Competition for jobs is strong.
You would usually have more opportunities for promotion in large galleries. If you work in
a small gallery you may need to move around the country to gain experience and
You may find the following links useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open
in new window):
We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.
Salaries for curators can range from £13,000 to over £26,000 a year.
Senior curators can earn from £27,000 to over £37,000.
Pay scales for curators vary depending on whether they work for a large national gallery
or a small local one. Private galleries often pay a basic salary with commission on sales.
Salaries in London are usually higher than elsewhere.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.