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Curators, Conservators, and Archivists: 3 Jobs in Fine Art Museums

Naples Fine Art Museum

Fine art museums are places where people can experience art in an up-close-and-personal way. Museums expose people to different works to educate them and enrich their lives as they consider, reflect on, and build a personal understanding of each piece. There are several people who ensure a museum is fully functional to this end. Some of the main professional contributors are curators, conservators, and archivists.


Fine art museums typically employ several curators. Curators are responsible for the acquisition of and care for a collection of artworks; they are responsible for maintaining part or all of a museum’s collection. They also regularly work with exhibit designers to arrange and present the works in displays that will be the most educational and inspiring to visitors. There are varying levels of curators employed in museums, from assistant curators to chief curators; the size of the museum determines the number of curators.


Art museum conservators are responsible for the preservation efforts of the collections of works that are displayed and stored in museums. They spend their time preventing artwork from being damaged and repairing pieces that require it, using specialized equipment and techniques (e.g. environmental and climate control, pest management, etc.). Conservators also educate other staff regarding proper methods for handling and displaying the artwork. They also work with archivists to maintain the collections.


Archivists are also extremely important members of museum management teams. They are responsible for archiving artworks using databases to catalog the pieces. Archivists also help preserve and maintain museum collections, working closely with conservators to employ different techniques as required, including restoration, specialized storage, and more. They create classification methods for the collection and build archival records.

It takes many people to manage and operate a fine art museum. So many people work to provide the public with access to art. They each have different professional roles, but all contribute to making a fine art museum a stimulating, enriching environment where people can make special memories.

The Naples Art District (NAD) is a 501c-3 non-profit organization that boasts the largest concentration of professional fine artists in the Southwest Florida area–it is home to over 90 professional artists who maintain their working studios and galleries there. NAD gives professional creatives a place to share their artistic talents with each other and with the general public. In 2020, Collier County officially recognized the District as a County Cultural Arts District.  Be sure to check out the organization’s official calendar of public events, as well as its list of workshops and classes offered by several of the member artists of the District; it is available online for anyone who wants to explore the fine arts in greater depth. Please contact the Naples Art District online or by calling 239-249-1977 for more information about the organization’s mission and role in the community. The Naples Art District is accessible to the public all year round.