Art gallery curator

arts exhibition organiser gallery exhibition organiser
Support

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would organise exhibitions and displays to attract visitors to a gallery. You'd help people to enjoy the paintings, sculptures, videos and other art.

You'd give visitors information about the objects on display to help them understand their significance and learn more about the artists.

You'd plan new exhibitions months in advance and arrange to borrow artworks from other galleries as part of the display.

You'd persuade businesses to sponsor the exhibition and try to get public money to pay for putting it on. You'd create publicity materials to advertise the exhibition so that people know about it and come and see it.

You'd also manage the gallery's permanent collections of paintings and artworks, which will often have historical significance.

You would:

  • Research and identify paintings and other items
  • Catalogue the items in the collection
  • Store artworks in the right conditions
  • Write catalogues and other information for visitors
  • Answer visitors' questions
  • Give talks to groups or school parties

You may also supervise or manage staff or do other tasks such as arrange insurance and security.

If you work for a private gallery you might sell pieces of art to customers and work with artists to organise regular exhibitions of their latest work.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work around 37 hours a week, probably with some weekend and evening work. Part-time work may be available.

Environment

You may have to do some lifting and carrying such as moving crates and boxes of exhibits or paintings.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Taking the lead
  • Presenting to people
  • Using computers
  • Coming up with new ideas
  • Being creative
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

An honours degree (SCQF level 10) or postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) in a relevant subject such as:

  • Fine Art
  • History of Art
  • Museum Studies
  • Gallery Studies 

Many curators also have a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11).

To enter a History of Art degree (SCFQ 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at B or above or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a Fine Art degree requires National 5 qualifications, a minimum of three Highers at C or above and a portfolio of your work.

To enter a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) requires a relevant degree. Some courses may ask for a portfolio of your work and or work-based experience.

There are currently no degrees in museum or gallery studies available in Scotland but the University of St Andrews offers a postgraduate qualification.

You could start work as an assistant curator, conservator or education manager before becoming a curator.

 

Useful subjects

  • English (required for many courses)
  • History (required by many courses)
  • Art, design & manufacture
  • Maths
  • Languages
  • Business
  • Computing

You will also need

 As gallery work is a competitive field, gaining experience through volunteering or an internship is usually essential.