Museum Curator Salary

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Museum Curator Salary

For those who are students of art, a museum curator’s job offers exciting career prospects and an attractive pay packet to go with it. From your local museum right up to the biggies in the art capitals across the world, the museum curator is the one who oversees the entire working, and picks up a decent salary for it. Here’s more on that.

Until a few years ago, the job of a museum curator would have been snubbed by young art students, fresh out of college. Eager to join the jet-setting lifestyle, most of them would prefer to be art dealers rather than sit in a stuffy museum making catalogs. However, as with most money-making careers, art trading hasn’t been left unscathed by the economic meltdown, and subsequently, art dealers haven’t been spared either.

The Current Scene

The changing face of art museums brought about a radical change in the curator’s job description. What was once thought to be a job that involved caring for artwork now includes promotion work, organizing fundraisers, and of course, designing the display.

The job of a museum curator may not fall into the conventionally glitzy lot, but as far as art students are concerned, nothing could be far from perfect. The art industry (there’s enough money circulating here which makes it an industry) may not be flourishing as it was in the cushy times, but the exclusivity that goes with art makes it an ideal investment for the reckless spender and the old-moneyed lot as well.

To belong to this exciting and intellectually stimulating field requires certain eclectic qualities. We sometimes see museum curators belonging to different academic backgrounds, but a graduate degree in fine arts, art history, art conservation, anthropology or in related fields gives you an edge. However, as with all creative fields, if you lack passion, any professional qualification cannot stop your job from becoming a drudgery. The importance of remuneration can never be undermined, and as far as that is concerned, the museum curator’s job certainly does not disappoint.

Average Salaries for Museum Curators

Region Annual Salary
District of Columbia $77,410
California $60,890
Maryland $59,160
New York $57,960
Illinois $57,290

  • The average hourly wage of a museum curator is around 25 USD.
  • As per the information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary is around 52,000 USD.
  • The museum curator’s salary range is vast. The minimum salary earned was approximately 27,000 USD, whereas top earning museum curators had a pay packet of around 83,000 USD.
  • The best region for a museum curator to be working in, had to be Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg in Maryland where the average annual salary was a comfortable 91,450 USD.
  • While curators find employment with the government, in schools and universities, or elsewhere, most of them were employed in museums, making around 48,640 USD per year.

There was a time when you could become a museum curator only if you cut an authoritative figure in the world of art. But as the art aficionados became younger, so did the curators who brought about a digital revolution in the conservative world of art. The job market in this field is reasonably competitive, so finding internships in museums would pave the way for building a career. The amount of experience in the field of art also influences the salary.

If money happens to be your only concern, the job of a museum curator may not bring you much joy. Besides a great love for art, a museum curator must possess another quality. A deep-rooted passion to learn new things would indeed come in useful when your job is to be a keeper of cultural heritage.

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