What skills are needed for curators?
Some curators work to collect, organize, and display the works of art and museum gallery collections. They begin by researching and selecting a created work of art or other object for the various collections of a gallery or museum, then organize the collections and selected works and prevent damage or destruction. Finally, curators plan and implement gallery and museum exhibits and displays so that works or other objects are properly and appropriately accessible to visitors.
Stay with us to learn more about the skills needed by a curator.
Curator skills and attributes required
To be successful in this job, curators must have knowledge and expertise in art or specific subjects related to galleries and museums. They should also have research and analytical skills, organizational and management skills, communication skills, and creativity and innovation.
What skills are needed for curation and what are the characteristics of a successful curator?
Knowledge and expertise in the field of art – history of art or special subjects of galleries and museums
Research and analytical skills
Organization and management skills
Communication and communication skills
creativity and innovation
According to the analysis of the O*NET website, the technical skills for the job position of curators are as follows:
- Analytical or scientific software — SAS
- Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software
- Computer-aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Database user interface and query software — Artsystems Collections; Database software; FileMaker Pro; Microsoft Access
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe InDesign
- Development environment software — Adobe Creative Suite; Microsoft Visual Studio
- Document management software — Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Photoshop; Graphics software; Microsoft Paint
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Object or component-oriented development software — Perl; Python; R
- Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect Office Suite; Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Apple macOS; Linux
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Eloquent Systems Eloquent
- Spreadsheet software
- Web page creation and editing software — Facebook; Social media sites
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Other non-technical skills or so-called soft skills needed by every curator are as follows:
Oral Comprehension – The ability to listen and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Verbal expression – the ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so that others can understand.
Written Comprehension – The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in written form.
Deductive reasoning – the ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce logical answers.
Accuracy – the ability to see details at close range (within a few centimeters of the observer).
Written Expression – The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so that others can understand them.
Flexibility: The ability to create or use different sets of rules to combine or group things in different ways.
Inductive reasoning – the ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (including finding a relationship between seemingly unrelated events).
Speech Clarity – The ability to speak clearly so that others can understand you.
Problem Solving – The ability to recognize when something is wrong or likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Speech recognition – the ability to recognize and understand the speech of another person.
Originality – the ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a particular topic or situation, or to come up with creative ways to solve a problem.
Idea generation – the ability to come up with several ideas on a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Information analysis – the ability to arrange things or actions in a specific order or pattern based on a specific rule or set of rules (eg, patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Visualization – the ability to imagine how something will look after it has been moved or when its parts have been moved or rearranged.
Macrosight – the ability to see details from a distance.
Selective attention – the ability to focus on a task for some time without distraction.
Color recognition and visual identity – the ability to match or distinguish between colors, including color shades and brightness.
To read more, refer to the following sources:
- Anderson, D. 1990. What shall we do with the curators? Museum Management and Curatorship 9 197-210.
- Benedetti, B. et al., 2005. The project for the Italian Portal of Culture. In EVA London 2005 Conference Proceedings, p. 1.1. EVA Conferences International.
- Foucault, M. 1970. The Order of Things. London: Tavistock Publications.
- Gee, K., 2004. Uses of collections: identity and representation. Unpublished report for the Museums Association.
- Hooper-Greenhill, E. 2004. Changing values in the art museum: rethinking communication and learning. In B. M. Carbonell (ed.) Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
- Keene, S. 2005. Fragments of the World: Uses of Museum Collections. Oxford: Butterworth Elsevier.
- Keene, S. 2004. Uses of Collections: Digitisation. Unpublished report for the Museums Association.