Museum Studies, Curatorial and Collections Management
The museum studies field, including curatorial and collections management, focuses on the acquisition, display, preventive conservation, accessibility, and management of artistic, historical, and scientific items. Museums and galleries are common settings, but can also include auction houses, libraries and archives, private collector brokerage, public art nonprofit organizations, and individual collection management for organizations like hospitals, corporations, or government facilities. Zoos, aquariums, arboretums, and botanic gardens also fall under the broad museum category.
The career search includes gaining experience via internships, as well as possible graduate studies. Curatorial studies and collections management tend to require advanced degrees in studies specific to arts, cultural, or nonprofit administration and legal and ethical issues affecting collections. Well-known auction houses often run their own graduate programs, blending the collections management field with business degrees. Students can get started by joining groups that set up and manage art spaces, gaining knowledge through coursework, and interning for museums, galleries, and cultural organizations.
Successful candidates have:
- Broad knowledge of art, with specific depth in particular mediums or historical periods
- Experience working with artists on installations and translating a vision to a final product
- Strong organizational, project management, research, and creative skills
- Strong networking skills and ability to develop interpersonal relationships
- Internship Cycle - Summer Internship Programs open in January/Feb
- Job Cycle - Fellowships open in December/January, smaller organizations list in March and April
- Vault Guide (access within Handshake*)
- Alternative Careers for Art Historians
- Association of Art Historians
- American Association of Museums
- New York Foundation for the Arts
*If it is your first time accessing Vault, create an account with your University of Rochester email on the login page, then click the link again to access these specific resources.
Related Student Organizations
Please see the Campus Community Connection for a full, current list of student organizations.