Museum Directors and Curators

Museum Director Displays Ceremonial Sword

A museum director is equivalent to the chief executive officer of a corporation. The museum director is responsible for the daily operations of the museum, for long-term planning, policies, any research conducted within the museum, and for the museum's fiscal health. Directors must also represent the museum at meetings with other museums, business and civic communities, and the museum's governing body. Finally, directors ensure that museums adhere to state and federal guidelines for safety in the workplace and hiring practices, as well as industry recommendations concerning the acquisitions and care of objects within the museum.

Museum curators care for objects in a museum's collection. The primary curatorial activities are maintenance, preservation, archiving, cataloging, study, and display of collection components. Curators must fund-raise to support staff in the physical care and study of collections. They also add to or alter a museum's collection by trading objects with other museums or purchasing new pieces. They educate others through scholarly articles and public programs that showcase the items.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Collections Managers, Curatorial Assistants, Executive Directors
Duties Manage the daily operations of a museum, as well as its fiscal health (museum director); maintain, preserve, archive, catalog, study, and display museum collection components (museum curator)
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Metropolitan areas
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Art
  • Business
  • History
Experience Three to five years' experience
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Organized
  • Problem-Solving
  • Business Management
  • Leadership
  • Organizational
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Museum Director
  • Senior Curator
  • Museum Curator
  • Collections Manager or Assistant Curator
  • Entry-Level Museum Positions