cu·​ra·​tor ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio)
ˈkyər- How to pronounce curator (audio)
plural curators
: a person who oversees or manages a place (such as a museum or zoo) that offers exhibits
"My passion for animal care and collection management really drove me to become a curator."Scott Newland
also : a person at a museum, zoo, etc. who is in charge of a specific collection or subject area
the curator of manuscripts
curatorial adjective
ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər-ˌship How to pronounce curator (audio)

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In a good-sized art museum, each curator is generally responsible for a single department or collection: European painting, Asian sculpture, Native American art, and so on. Curatorial duties include acquiring new artworks, caring for and repairing objects already owned, discovering frauds and counterfeits, lending artworks to other museums, and mounting exhibitions of everything from Greek sculpture to 20th-century clothing.

Examples of curator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In this show, Thomas assumes the role of curator as well as artist, assembling an array of small-scale portraits of Black Americans, from early-19th-century photography to contemporary works by such artists as Curtis Talwst Santiago and Sula Bermúdez-Silverman. Globe Staff,, 8 Sep. 2023 This year’s show of just over 20 prints by a selection of artists who came through the program from 2020 to 2022 was organized by Rebecca Dobkins, the museum’s curator of Indigenous art. Briana Miller, oregonlive, 8 Sep. 2023 Also with us was Leo Landis, state curator for the State Historical Society of Iowa. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2023 The institution had never had a non-European staff curator until his ultra-diverse new team arrived. Siddhartha Mitter, New York Times, 4 Sep. 2023 The designer mentioned during our conversation that her brand’s ethos goes along the lines of approaching design in the same way a curator would approach a museum or a gallery exhibition where each art piece is really an artifact. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 29 Aug. 2023 So, this season has been built by a number of curators. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Aug. 2023 Fuhr Mann worked for many years as a curator for the feminist film festival Bimovie and is currently producing videos for the media editorial department of Süddeutsche Zeitung, a major German newspaper. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 25 Aug. 2023 The six artists chosen by the curators have created half a dozen works, placed throughout the parkland that includes the Mall and Constitution Gardens. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'curator.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin cūrātor "one who looks after, superintendent, guardian," from cūrāre "to watch over, attend" + -tor, agent suffix — more at cure entry 2

First Known Use

1660, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of curator was in 1660

Dictionary Entries Near curator

Cite this Entry

“Curator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


cu·​ra·​tor ˈkyu̇(ə)r-ˌāt-ər How to pronounce curator (audio) kyu̇-ˈrāt- How to pronounce curator (audio)
: a person in charge of a museum or zoo
curatorship noun

Legal Definition


in the civil law of Louisiana : a person appointed by a court to care for the property of an absent person or to care for the person or property of someone mentally incapable of doing so compare committee, conservator, guardian, interdict, tutor
curatorship noun

Latin, guardian, from curare to take care of

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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