What Is The Difference Between An Archivist And A Museum Curator?

Archivists and museum curators both typically work within a museum setting, preserving and collecting objects for future generations. So, you may be asking yourself, what are the differences between the two career fields?

Archivist
Archivists are tasked with the preservation of records and documents that are deemed to be very important, even crucial, to history. They aren’t only responsible for making these records accessible to those who need them. They also play a very vital role in ensuring that these records stay intact so that future generations will still be able to see and learn from these records. Without the skill, training and expertise of archivists, documents and records that make people understand about the events of the past and the role they had played in the present situation of the world would have long been lost to history.

Archivists are typically in charge of a small number of records since they are responsible for the preservation of those documents that are deemed so crucial to history and human knowledge. They may focus on a particular historical area, making them experts in the records of that time period.

One of the main differences between the tasks of archivists and museum curators are the types of documents that they are in charge of. While museum curators typically study and handle three-dimensional objects, archivists are usually entrusted with the care of records that are placed on paper, film and electronic form.

Archivists don’t only preserve documents. They are also responsible for editing, appraising, classifying and studying records in museums, libraries, universities and corporations. They may also do research on both new and old items in their collections. Archivists may also share their knowledge to students and the general public by conducting lectures and workshops and undertaking research.

Museum Curator
A museum curator has a variety of responsibilities within a museum setting, such as obtaining objects or artifacts, inventory management, exhibit creation, and grant writing. Typically, a museum curator works as the manager within historical museums, zoos, art museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, or galleries. The museum curator is responsible for the overall layout, flow, and design set up of an exhibit within a museum or gallery setting. Furthermore, the museum curator oversees all aspects of the museum events, such as educational tours, fundraising, lectures, and museum workshops. Becoming a museum curator can be an incredibly gratifying role, as you would be overseeing and preserving the history and information of objects within a collection.

As the museum curator, you will be using your knowledge and expertise to curate and take care of the objects within the collection or museum setting, so they will be available for future generations. Without museum curators or those in the museum field, we would not be able to see or understand the history of our past and how it has shaped our present world. Museum curators typically hold a Bachelor’s degree within areas such as history, art, or any area of particular interest that relates to history. It is imperative that you have a strong work ethic, writing skills, and exemplary research abilities. Throughout your coursework, you should find a museum or collection that allows for internships. Additionally, you may need to further your education by obtaining a Master’s degree in a specialized area of interest.

Career Spotlight: Archivist

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