Museum Studies

Explore a career in 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.

Employment Opportunities

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 
  • Hiring cycle:
    • Internship Cycle – Summer Internship Programs open in January / February
    • Job Cycle – Fellowships open in December / January, smaller organizations list in March and April

Three Tips for Landing a Museum Job Out of College

Museum jobs are some of the most popular and coveted positions for college graduates. But the question remains – when is the best time to start applying for museum jobs out of college? There are a few things to consider when …

By Elaina McKie
Elaina McKie Career Advisor
Read more »

Skills for a Future Career in Museums

Specialist skills and a passion for collections have long been prerequisites for aspiring museum professionals. But those qualities now need to be backed up by an understanding of the new roles and responsibilities expected of individuals, as well as the …

By Elaina McKie
Elaina McKie Career Advisor
Read more »


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Career Service Hours

Monday 9am – 5pm
Tuesday 9am – 5pm
Wednesday 9am – 5pm
Thursday 9am – 5pm
Friday 9am – 5pm

Learn more about 1:1 advising and evening appointments here.

Contact & Location

(585) 275-2366

4-200 Dewey Hall
500 Wilson Blvd
Rochester, NY 14627

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