What is a curator?
Every so often I’ll meet someone who asks me what I do; this draws the response “I’m a natural history curator”*. Sometimes I will then be faced with the dreaded follow-up question “what does that mean?”
I hate it when this happens, because the curatorial role involves lots of different things and it can be hard to summarise them in any kind of concise and intelligible way. Different museums expect different things from curators, which will usually depend on the rest of the staffing structure. So when I answer I can only really answer for myself and what I think MY curatorial role entails.
The most obvious responsibility is “curating collections”, which is not actually an explanation in any meaningful way. To curate more or less means to “take care of”, but these days the museum sector has become professionalised and there are other specialists who take…
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