Curator Kaitiaki Taonga

Curators research, develop, exhibit and maintain collections for museums, art galleries and artists.

Curators may do some or all of the following:

  • decide what to add to art and museum collections and exhibitions
  • liaise with artists, art dealers, museums and galleries to get items for collections
  • plan, organise and oversee the content and quality of exhibitions 
  • research, write and give talks about collections and exhibitions
  • work on repatriation projects (returning art and cultural objects, usually looted, to their original place)
  • manage budgets.

Physical Requirements

Curators need to:

  • have clear speech as they may need to give presentations
  • have normal colour vision and good eyesight, as they need to assess art and objects
  • be reasonably fit and strong, as in smaller galleries and museums they may have to do some physical work such as painting walls or lifting objects.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for curators includes:

  • voluntary or paid work in art galleries or museums
  • work as an artist, art critic or art historian
  • library or research work
  • project management.

Personal Qualities

Curators need to be:

  • creative thinkers
  • good researchers and writers
  • accurate and methodical, with an eye for detail
  • able to work well in a team
  • excellent networkers
  • excellent communicators who can relate to people of all ages and cultures, and who have public relations skills.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for curators includes:

  • voluntary or paid work in art galleries or museums
  • work as an artist, art critic or art historian
  • library or research work
  • project management.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter further training. Useful subjects include te reo Māori, Pacific studies, history of arts, history and classical studies, science, English, construction and mechanical technologies, and painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking combined.

Curators can earn around $55K-$65K per year per year.

After five or more years' experience, curators may progress into senior positions or move into management. With further experience they may progress to education roles such as tertiary lecturer.

Curators may specialise in areas such as:

  • art
  • art history
  • natural history
  • Māori or Pacific Island culture.
Curator