Overview of the role

Research, understand, develop and interpret collections, themes or subjects.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in accredited museums, galleries or organisations such as local authorities, universities, historic environments and properties or trusts, with art, natural history or cultural collections which are accessible to the public. They may work with collections, built heritage, or the natural and historic environments.The size of the organisation that a Curator may work in varies from large national organisations employing hundreds of specialised staff to local organisations employing 1 or 2 staff with multiple responsibilities.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to research, understand, develop and interpret collections, themes or subjects e.g. historic buildings, natural and historic environments, to make these accessible to wide ranging and diverse public or private audiences. This ensures that collections, themes or subjects are kept accessible and safe guards them for future generations.

The Curator’s activities support the audiences’ development of knowledge by captivating their interest in collections or places. They communicate information to them in a wide variety of ways including developing narratives through displays, exhibitions, public events, digital media methods and publications to bring to life collections both modern and/or ancient across a variety of subjects on a scale from paintings and sculpture to large scale vehicles and taxidermy’. Curators may be subject, collections or cultural asset specialists (such as historic places, folklore or oral history). They use this specialist knowledge and expertise to oversee the care of collections and ensure their long-term preservation. Where further expertise or support is required, they may use their personal networks of other specialists.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with the public. They might also work with:

• Technical colleagues (internal/external) e.g. Conservators, Registrars, Technicians, Project Managers, Designers
• Internal engagement colleagues e.g. marketers, business development, learning & engagement, visitor experience, security, volunteers
• External organisations e.g. local authorities, other museums (local/national/international), funding bodies. local and national Government, subject specialist networks, private sector.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for researching, understanding, interpreting and developing collections, themes or subjects to make these accessible to wide and diverse public or private audiences. They may manage the projects, including timescales, budgets, deliverables and interfaces associated with these activities which may include internal and external stakeholders. Curators advise and make recommendations to technicians, conservators and operational colleagues such as building managers in order to inform them about collections and provide better care and display. This supports and builds the capability of colleagues to make effective decisions in relation to the care of collections and to ensure the adherence to appropriate standards and accreditation requirements. Depending on the organisation, they would report to the Head of Collections, Chief Curator, Directors of Service/Departments or the organisation’s Chief Executive, Art Directors, Heads of Research, or a private collection owner or Board. Depending on the scale of the organisation, they may manage volunteer and or internal staff and the majority of their work is either working autonomously e.g. collections activities or with project teams e.g. to deliver exhibitions.

Typical job titles include:

Assistant curator Curator

Entry requirements

Employers will specify their own entry requirements, which may include a degree or the equivalent level of knowledge and thinking ability gained through experience.

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Develop creative interpretation approaches and approaches to content development to make sure that objects/collections will captivate audience interest and increase audience subject knowledge and engagement

K1 K6 K7 K10 K11 K12 K14 K15 K18 K21 K22 K23

S2 S3 S5 S6 S7 S9 S13 S17 S20 S23 S24

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 2 Advise on and manage collections development which may include acquisition, disposals and loans.

K1 K2 K4 K5 K8 K12 K13 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20 K23

S1 S2 S4 S8 S9 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 3 Identifies intended audience requirements by proactively reaching out to them, ensuring access and inclusivity and demonstrating that all developed and delivered activities are relevant to those requirements

K1 K4 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K18 K19 K20

S6 S7 S9 S12 S13 S17 S22 S23

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 4 Work collaboratively with and motivate teams which may include direct staff and/or volunteers

K8 K9 K10 K11 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S11 S12 S14 S15 S18 S19 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10

Duty 5 Manage and lead internal/external projects from inception to completion including temporary and permanent Exhibitions

K8 K9 K10 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K23

S2 S3 S11 S14 S15 S18 S19

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10

Duty 6 Undertake research to develop knowledge , and specialist knowledge in relevant fields of study of objects/collections to support all internal/external stakeholders and taking into account audience feedback and indicators

K6 K7 K8 K9 K15 K18 K23

S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S9 S20 S21 S24

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 7 Advise and make recommendations to technicians, conservators and operational colleagues such as building managers to inform them about collections and help them provide better storage, presentation and authenticity, secure movement and access arrangements

K2 K3 K5 K15 K17 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S10 S14 S15 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 8 Respond to public enquiries and/or research requests

K6 K10 K18 K22 K23

S5 S6 S9 S17 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 9 Deliver all activity objectives in-line with resource constraints

K8 K10 K12 K13 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K23

S16 S18

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 10 Act as Ambassador for their organisation to raise its profile and communicate the importance of its work to the public through media, attending/speaking at conferences/workshops

K6 K7 K10 K11 K14 K15 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S8 S9 S10 S11 S16 S18 S19 S21 S23

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10

Duty 11 Acquire and share best practice and/or deliver training to internal and external staff to increase their knowledge, competence and latest thinking about the sector

K11 K17 K18 K20 K22 K23

S10 S14 S19 S20 S21 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10

Duty 12 Supervise safe and secure installations, including handling and movement, of objects, art work and exhibitions.

K3 K5 K8 K15 K17 K18 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S12 S13 S14 S18 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B9 B10



K1: The Accreditation standards under the Arts Council England’s Museum Accreditation scheme Back to Duty

K2: The current UK collections management standard, overseen by the Collections Trust Back to Duty

K3: Organisation’s collections management and documentation policies and procedures Back to Duty

K4: Museum Association Code of Ethics, including the theory of ethical curating Back to Duty

K5: Collections care best practice including professional standards for preservation, preventive and remedial conservation Back to Duty

K6: Research methodology/techniques and knowledge management processes, and up-to-date knowledge on the debates affecting the sector eg. sustainable collections, the future of collecting Back to Duty

K7: Content development, interpretation and application strategies across a wide variety of internal/external engagement methods e.g. exhibition and display, collections interpretation, digital curation, online and electronic portals, screenings, tours, events and talks Back to Duty

K8: Business and project planning processes including long, medium and short-term e.g. business continuity, exhibition and display planning and programming Back to Duty

K9: Understand how to identify their key stakeholders and how to most effectively engage with and manage them Back to Duty

K10: Visitor experience processes which may include interpretation/exhibitions/display and audience access Back to Duty

K11: Partnership building to share knowledge/best practice, internally and/or externally Back to Duty

K12: Project management processes including an understanding of brokering, commissioning, managing external consultancies, creative, design and build services. This may include both small and/or large-scale projects and could be internally or externally focused. Back to Duty

K13: Fundraising principles, policies and processes in relation to their organisation Back to Duty

K14: The strategic goals of the organisation and the wider context in which it sits, and where their personal activities support these goals Back to Duty

K15: Theory and practice of presentation, interpretation and programming, including established and emerging digital skillsets Back to Duty

K16: Appropriate financial processes which may include budget preparation and management Back to Duty

K17: People (staff) management policies and procedures Back to Duty

K18: Written and verbal communication techniques to engage, in accordance with brand guidelines, with internal and external colleagues and provide appropriate communication content e.g. in reports, making presentations, attending/speaking at conferences and conveying information to others. Back to Duty

K19: Negotiation strategies to achieve a breadth of successful outcomes for the organisation for example delivering an exhibition; budget savings; signing of legal agreements Back to Duty

K20: Influencing techniques which take in to account others’ views and considerations along with the organisation’s objectives Back to Duty

K21: The significance and importance of your role to the success of the organisation Back to Duty

K22: Engagement and relationship building techniques to enable effective communication including developing and delivering audience-appropriate talks and tours to wide ranging and diverse audiences Back to Duty

K23: Organisation process and procedures, relative to their role e.g. data management, GDPR, health & safety and security Back to Duty


S1: Lead on the application and/or development of collections management processes including cataloguing whilst ensuring suitable handling,storage provision and audits Back to Duty

S2: Deliver new exhibitions, projects and collections displays as appropriate and with authenticity, e.g. research, development, organisation, administration, installation Back to Duty

S3: Refresh and/or re-present permanent, temporary and online displays/ exhibitions, determining and using appropriate interpretation methodologies Back to Duty

S4: Lead on and/or manage collections development which may include acquisition, disposal and loans, including national/international inter-organisation loans as appropriate. Ability to evaluate the long-term implications of collections development decisions. Back to Duty

S5: Commission, undertake and/or disseminate collections-related research Back to Duty

S6: Interpret and respond to research, intelligence and analysis of audience feedback and preferences Back to Duty

S7: Work with subject experts to develop creative interpretation/story telling approaches and content for exhibitions, displays and digital content Back to Duty

S8: Build subject specialist and sector networks internally and/or externally to keep abreast of emerging trends and developments that may impact medium and long-term plans Back to Duty

S9: Relate collections to a wider historical or contemporary understanding Back to Duty

S10: Recruit and select, as required by their organisation, subject experts, internal/external agencies, contractors and other organisations to work with collaboratively Back to Duty

S11: Work with others to achieve projects from inception to completion meeting agreed outcomes Back to Duty

S12: Develop exhibitions and display through internal/external designers as appropriate for their organisation Back to Duty

S13: Analyse and respond to visitor research when planning exhibitions, displays and digital content Back to Duty

S14: Manage teams, which may include some/all volunteers as required Back to Duty

S15: Set/agree milestones, deadlines and workflow for colleagues (in other departments or members of project/programme teams) to ensure delivery, as required by the organisation. Back to Duty

S16: Contribute/signpost to fundraising/income generation through grant applications, sponsorship and charging activities as appropriate for the role Back to Duty

S17: Interrogate, interpret and evaluate data sets on audience engagement Back to Duty

S18: Negotiate with stakeholders in order to achieve desired outcomes and to align with institutional objectives Back to Duty

S19: Communicate, both in writing and verbally, to a range of stakeholders to achieve shared goals, objectives and solve problems Back to Duty

S20: Write reports, for a range of internal/external audiences, regarding activities Back to Duty

S21: Act as an Ambassador for the organisation to raise its profile and communicate the importance of its work. This may mean representing the organisation including attending and/or presenting at conferences and workshops as well as developing/contributing to publications for the organisation Back to Duty

S22: Share best practice and/or deliver training to internal staff and external organisations e.g. Museum Association regarding accession activities. Back to Duty

S23: Deliver talks/tours/presentations/events to continue to engage existing audiences e.g. members and supporters as well as to broaden the participation base Back to Duty

S24: Contribute to the institution’s on-line and social media presence, and digital content in accordance with the organisation’s objectives Back to Duty


B1: Passion and commitment: acts with purpose by being enthusiastic and enthusing others Back to Duty

B2: Trust: acts with integrity and high ethical standards Back to Duty

B3: Innovation: proactively uses initiative and imagination to develop and identify new ideas where appropriate Back to Duty

B4: Results focus: achieves tasks in a timely manner Back to Duty

B5: Problem solvers: has a can do approach Back to Duty

B6: Expectation management: diplomatically manages the differing expectations of others, both internal and external, regarding what is practically achievable in terms of stipulated requirements e.g. time scales, budgets. Back to Duty

B7: Interpersonal skills: gets along well with others, establishes effective working relationships with co-workers, managers, clients and/or the public. Back to Duty

B8: Team working: by personal example, encourages and facilitates cooperation and collaboration; takes into account inclusion and diversity factors; ensures group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; identifies and works to others’ strengths Back to Duty

B9: Work under pressure: works well in an environment where there will be many tasks and situations to deal with at once. There may be constraints outside their control or unforeseen changes or problems to deal with. Back to Duty

B10: Continuous Professional Development: Proactively keeps industry and best practice knowledge and skills up-to-date, having an eye to the future. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 7
Degree: non-degree qualification
Reference: ST0782
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 25/02/2022
Approved for delivery: 27 April 2020
Route: Creative and design
Typical duration to gateway: 36 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £12000
LARS Code: 554
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: National Trust, CC Skills, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Imperial War Museum, Culture Syndicates, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, British Film Institute, London Transport Museum, Beamish Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, V & A, BCLM, Tate, Worthing Museum, Torbay Museums, Culture Coventry, University of Reading | Museum of English Rural Life, RIBA, Ironbridge, Plymouth, Compton Verney Art Gallery & House, Canal & River Trust, English Heritage

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 27/04/2020 Not set Not set

Crown copyright © 2024. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

Is this webpage useful?

Thank you for your feedback

Tell us about your experience