What is a science museum curator?
A science museum curator is responsible for managing scientific exhibitions, artefacts and displays. Curators can find work in a wide variety of museums, from planetariums to science museums. They ensure that the items on display are good quality, and organise new exhibits to attract visitors to visit the museum. In addition to this, curators are often involved in work behind-the-scenes, such as forming relationships with stakeholders and organising budgets.
What are the typical responsibilities of a science museum curator?
Responsibilities vary depending on the type and size of the museum. In larger science museums, there may be more than one curator with each focusing on a section of the museum. However, in some of the smallest museums, the curator is responsible for the upkeep of the entire museum, and will conduct more behind-the-scenes work.
With this in mind, typical responsibilities include: acquiring objects for displays, organising new exhibitions, researching the history behind new artefacts, setting out a budget, and responding to inquiries from the public and stakeholders.
What skills do you need to be a science museum curator?
Firstly, you’ll need to be passionate about the subject of the specific museum you’re working in. If you're working in a planetarium, for instance, you’ll need a demonstrable passion for science and astronomy. An eye for detail is important, as you’ll need to ensure that artefacts are in excellent condition, and that exhibits are eye-catching but not too cluttered. Written and verbal communication skills are also vital, so you can explain the significance of the artefacts to the general public. Finally, creative flair is essential, to come up with new, exciting exhibits and displays that will appeal to many.
What qualifications do I need to be a science museum curator?
To become a science museum curator, you’ll need experience in the museum’s speciality. This can be gained via work experience or a university degree. A postgraduate qualification may also increase your chances of employment, either in your chosen speciality or museum studies. Completing an apprenticeship is a great way to gain work experience and a qualification, with the V&A museum in London just one museum offering a museum curator apprenticeship.
How do I gain work experience?
Work experience is highly valued within the field, and can be utilised as an alternative to qualifications. Internships are available, but voluntary work shows your altruism and is less competitive. The Museums Association gives students and volunteers a reduced price membership, which gives you access to events, careers advice and events.