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Career Connections: Museum Curator

7 minutes

(Describer) Beside four different-size different-color circles connected by lines, title: Career Connections. Under a world map with dots in various locations, title: World Languages.

(Describer) Title: Museum Curator

A museum curator is the point person for every exhibit that the public sees in a museum. Art, history, natural science, or even a race car museum, the curator must have a curious mind, a trained eye, and a mastery of many diverse skills, often including world languages. Justin Kronewetter is a professor of fine arts and director of the Ross Art Museum at Ohio Wesleyan University. A curator is an individual that comes up with ideas for exhibitions and then figures out how they can put into action the exhibition that they have thought up. A museum curator always has a finger on the museum's pulse. I solve problems. Many, if not most, we couldn't anticipate in advance.

(Describer) He speaks with a woman at framed photographs.

But that just comes with the territory. My primary responsibility as the director of the museum is to arrange exhibitions that coordinate with the curriculum of the fine arts department and also, in one way or another, interface with various programs that we have on campus. Art exhibits don't just happen, they take planning. The curator is at the operation's heart. Often a museum offers multiple exhibits per year. Most of what we do here is planned two or three years in advance. For us to mount the type of work that we do, which is primarily professional art, we're having to schedule with the artist, as I said, two or three years in advance. What kind of academic preparation and life experience does it take to become an art museum curator? A curator needs to understand the breadth of history of art in all the different periods. Art history is something I would have taken more of in high school and certainly in my undergraduate and graduate studies. I learned the importance of reading. I learned the importance of going to museums. And one other thing I would mention to young people-- I, unfortunately, am not bilingual-- I think it's incredibly important for young people to become bilingual, particularly if you go into a job like mine because it entails-- in many cases it entails, at the highest level, travel around the world. As a student, Catie Beach realizes how important learning other languages is to prepare for a curator career. I've heard in Europe it's very common for people to learn multiple languages. I think that interconnection across the world is increasing rapidly. For Catie, becoming an art curator developed from her fine arts education and a unique real-world opportunity. I've taken art classes my whole life. I'm from Columbus, and we have Columbus College of Art and Design. I've been trained in art my whole life. I never considered being interested in the museum aspect of it. I never considered it. That's really common for artists. I was lucky enough to be in Justin Kronewetter's gallery management class my freshman year. He invited six of the students to go to New Mexico to curate an exhibition. In class, the extent of what we've done was hanging the works and attending lectures, meeting the artists there. When we actually went out to their studios and interview them and talk about their works and select the pieces, that was a whole other beast. It's important for an art museum curator to know everything about an artist and the artwork a museum exhibits. So beyond the Internet, art catalogs, and books, how does a curator research the art and artists to exhibit?

(Describer) Kronwetter:

In almost every case, it's important for the curator to make a studio visit to the artist's studio to actually see the artwork. And interestingly enough, as a curator, I wouldn't be in that studio looking at their artwork if I wasn't already familiar with and interested in the artwork on the front side of the framed work. I'm also interested in the back side. What are the hanging devices? How much does something weigh? How am I going to get this on the wall in a responsible and efficient way.

(female narrator) Once an exhibit is set, the curator's job is just beginning-- designing the exhibit space, arranging for shipment, preparing the walls and floor space, publicizing and marketing the exhibit.

(Kronewetter) In addition to that, making arrangements for the artist to come to campus. Do we have to fly them here? Will they drive here? One of the primary reasons that an artist visits a campus of our type is to interact with the students. Creating a situation where the students have access to the artist is another part of the organization that goes on. Knowing art, finding art, exhibiting art, interacting with artists, critics, and the art-loving public. That's just the life of a curator.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production

(Describer) Titles: For more information, visit OhioMeansJobs.com. Western Reserve Public Media. Copyright 2014. Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at www.ed.gov.

accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education:

PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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Museum curators research artistic or historic objects and create exhibitions for the public. These exhibits offer educational information about individuals and historical time periods. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 7 minutes

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