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 Marco Mueller, the veteran film festival curator and director, is set to launch a new festival and market in Macau. Patrick Frater, Variety, 23 Nov. 2023 This year’s nominees in the best feature and best short documentary categories were selected from shortlists announced on Oct. 24, with the shortlists and nominees selected by independent committees of 280 documentary makers, curators, critics and industry experts from 40 countries. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Nov. 2023 The tome is co-authored by curator Alexandre Samson and journalist and Vogue contributor Anders Christian Madsen, who tackled the collections from 1952 to 2000 and 2001 to now, respectively. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 16 Nov. 2023 While the exhibition is on view until next spring, curator Adam Greenhalgh presents an hour-long introduction on opening day at noon in the East Building Auditorium. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023 Talented curators also highlight local artists for seasonal exhibits. Megan Wood, Travel + Leisure, 14 Nov. 2023 Last year, a solo show of her work at Sow & Taylor in Historic South Central caught the eye of the curators for the Hammer’s biennial. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 The job of museum curators is to save art from the distortions of dramatized biography and return our attention to the work. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2023 Through it all, the New York art world seemed confused by her, and museum curators here largely ignored her. Nancy Hass, New York Times, 2 Nov. 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 1 Dec. 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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