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Take care of our heritage; Plan a career taking care of museums.

Byline: EMMA THOMPSON

What does a career as a museum curator involve? Museum curators manage collections of objects of artistic, scientific, historical and general interest. Work includes selecting, buying or borrowing items; organising records and catalogues - usually on computer; making sure exhibits are stored under the right conditions; arranging conservation and restoration; setting up displays and exhibitions; managing budgets; organising publicity and fundraising.

In large museums you may have one specialism. In a small general museum you would have wider responsibilities.

You can find roles in a number of places, such as national museums funded by the Government; regional and local museums funded by local authorities; university museums; independent and specialist museums.

You may need to move around the country - Wales or the rest of the UK - to gain experience and to progress, especially if starting out in a smaller museum with fewer opportunities for promotion.

What personal skills are needed? You need to have a keen interest in history and in your specialist area, along with good organisational and decisionmaking abilities.

Accuracy for cataloguing objects, plus planning, administration and budgeting skills are all needed, but creative flair for displays and exhibitions is essential. What training do you need? You would usually need both a degree and a postgraduate certificate, diploma or masters degree in museum or heritage studies.

If you want to specialise in a particular area, such as fine art or archaeology, your degree should be in a relevant subject.

To get onto a postgraduate course, you would need relevant experience as well as a degree.

Volunteering is a good way of gaining experience.

Some of the large museums offer a limited number of curatorial traineeships, which are detailed on their websites.

You may be able to get into museum work through an apprenticeship scheme.

What are the opportunities for career progression? Once you are employed as a museum curator you can work towards NVQ Level 2 in Museums, Galleries and Heritage; NVQ Level 3 in Cultural Heritage Operations; NVQ Level 4 in Cultural Heritage; NVQ Level 5 in Cultural Heritage Management.

You can also complete in- service courses run by area museums councils; and the Museums Association programme of professional development courses leading to the Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA). What is the salary? (Guideline only) From pounds 20,000 to over pounds 36,000, senior curators can earn up to pounds 60,000 or more, depending on the museum.

More information. Museums Association, www.museumsassociation.

org. Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, www.mla.gov.uk. //nextstep.direct.gov.uk. Details for information only. Jobs not necessarily available.

. www.cymal.wales.gov.uk

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Museum curators have an essential role to play in preserving and enhancing enjoyment and understanding of our history and heritage
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 4, 2010
Words:459
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