Gallery Assistant



» Job description

A museum/art gallery curator acquires, cares for, develops, displays and interprets a collection of artefacts or works of art in order to inform, educate and entertain the public.

The emphasis of the role is moving away from a purely academic research function towards a wider-ranging career, which includes aspects such as:

  • public relations;
  • fundraising;
  • handling enquiries;
  • education and access activities.

There is growing pressure for museums, galleries and other heritage and tourism attractions to work together to share expertise. When organising exhibitions, therefore, curators need to market them appropriately to ensure they appeal to a wide cross-section of the general public, including overseas tourists.

» Typical work activities

Typical work activities include:

  • cataloguing acquisitions and keeping records;
  • researching and writing catalogues;
  • planning, organising, interpreting and presenting exhibitions;
  • caring for the collection;
  • negotiating loan items and funding;
  • handling enquiries from researchers and the public;
  • planning financial budgets;
  • supervising staff and/or volunteers;
  • giving presentations;
  • talking to individuals and groups about exhibits;
  • dealing with enquiries from a variety of clients;
  • liaising with voluntary groups, the community (including schools, local history and other groups), industry, and grant agencies to secure sponsorship for events, publications and development projects;
  • liaising with management boards, trustees and local council and political groups to secure ongoing support;
  • networking with other museum and art gallery professionals and outside agencies, through meetings and collaborative projects.

More and more time can be spent on the financial aspects of running departments. This means that less time is available for managing collections and the central research element of the job is now only likely to be done either in preparation for exhibitions or in response to public enquiries. The days of narrow specialisation have largely gone.


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