Job Profile of Art Museum Associate Curator

A curator at work. Image courtesy Chicasso, Getty Images.

What Is an Art Museum Associate Curator?:

An Associate Curator is an arts specialist who works full-time in an art museum in a specific art department such as Renaissance Painting, Medieval Arts, or Decorative Arts.

Duties of an Associate Curator:

An Associate Curator reports to the Chair of the Department. Duties include scholarly research work and cataloguing, helping to develop the museum’s collection, and working on publications, presentations, and exhibitions.

An Associate Curator leads the scholarly research and has curatorial responsibility of the department's objects and artworks, and organizes related public programs, presentations and lectures.

Working with other curators in the museum's various departments, an Associate Curator conceptualizes and carries out special researched exhibitions and installations of the museum's collection to appeal to the museum's general and diverse audience.

Besides cataloguing records for the museum's online collections database, an Associate Curator assists in fundraising by contacting sponsors and works on building up the department's acquisitions through extensive research and knowledge of the art market.

An Associate Curator works closely with the museum's conservators on care of the department's collection.

Skills Needed to Be an Associate Curator:

An Associate Curator is an expert and a scholar, and is a skilled lecturer, researcher and writer.

As an expert, an Associate Curator must have a strong record of original research and publication in the field. Knowledge of the current art market is necessary for working on the museum's acquisitions.

Additionally, an Associate Curator is skilled in communication and has a professional network of scholars, historians, artists, curators, museum colleagues, art patrons and the museum's audience.

Skills may include knowing more than one language.


Education Needed to Be an Associate Curator:

A PhD degree in Art History is required to be an Art Museum Associate Curator, as one becomes a a specialist from conducting scholarly research and having the dissertation published.

This field often requires a working knowledge of other languages that are pertinent to the area of specialization.

Experience Needed to Be an Associate Curator:

An Associate Curator needs to have several years of curatorial experience in an institution, before being considered for a position in a large art museum.

How to Be Hired as an Associate Curator:

Many art museums post job listings for associate curators of specific art departments. Qualified applicants are typically asked to email their cover letters and resumes to the museum's Human Resources Department.

Another common way to get hired is by professional reputation. As you become known in the field for your impeccable research and scholarly publications, you may be invited by a museum to submit your application.

Further Info on Curating

How to Curate an Art Exhibition in 10 Easy Steps This site provides an easy tutorial on how to get started in curating an art exhibition.

The beginner must learn about the many steps and factors involved to make a successful curated exhibition.

What Do Art Curators Do? A fundamental question about curating is answered.

What Type of Skills Are Needed to Be a Curator? Is being knowledgeable in art history and being organized enough? Learn more about what is required to be a curator.

What Is the Difference between an Art Museum Curator and an Independent Curator? Is having institutional support of the lack of the only difference between an in-house curator and a freelance curator?

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