cu·​ra·​tor | \ ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio) , ˈkyər-; kyu̇-ˈrā-; ˈkyu̇r-ə-, ˈkyər- How to pronounce curator (audio) \

Definition of curator

: one who has the care and superintendence of something especially : one in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit

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Other Words from curator

curatorial \ ˌkyu̇r-​ə-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce curatorial (audio) , ˌkyər-​ \ adjective
curatorship \ ˈkyu̇r-​ˌā-​tər-​ˌship How to pronounce curatorship (audio) , ˈkyər-​ ; kyu̇-​ˈrā-​ ; ˈkyu̇r-​ə-​ , ˈkyər-​ \ noun

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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

Davis is the former president of the Texas Institute of Letters and longtime curator at the Witliff Collections, a stockpile of Southwestern cultural works — including books — at Texas State University. Dan Singer, Dallas News, "Texas writers' book on Timothy Leary gets the TV treatment with Woody Harrelson to star," 18 July 2019 This year’s Biennial was selected and installed by two young curators at the Whitney. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition Takes a Traditional Turn," 13 July 2019 Putting together this biennial made Tonga think more critically about the methods and traditions she was trained in as a curator. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "Indigenous Female Artists Take Center Stage in Hawaii," 12 July 2019 But no one played a bigger role in its creation than Henke, a longtime writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine who served as chief curator at the museum from 1994 to 2012. Michael Norman,, "Remembering an architect of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: A tribute to James Henke," 11 July 2019 Ellegood has served as curator at the Hammer Museum since 2009. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Hammer Museum curator Anne Ellegood named executive director of the ICA LA," 10 July 2019 Jordan Metzgar, a curator at Virginia Tech’s Massey Herbarium who helped identify the plant, says that anyone who comes into contact with the giant hogweed’s sap (but please … just don’t) should wash with soap and water and stay out of the sun. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "Just What We Need — a Pretty New Plant Trying to Blind Us," 19 June 2018 Last year, curators at the American Museum of Natural History, as well as more than 200 scientists, expressed their concern about the presence of Rebekah Mercer, an influential donor to groups that deny climate science, on its board. Alex Marshall, New York Times, "Should Oil Money Fund the Arts? Leading British Artists Say No," 5 July 2019 This year, the curators at Versailles commissioned five artists, all of them photographers, to make new works responding specifically to the palace, its grounds, and its history. Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker, "A Photographer’s Ode to the Women of Versailles," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curator.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of curator

1561, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for curator

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

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Dictionary Entries near curator





curator bonis



Statistics for curator

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for curator

The first known use of curator was in 1561

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More Definitions for curator



English Language Learners Definition of curator

: a person who is in charge of the things in a museum, zoo, etc.


cu·​ra·​tor | \ ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio) , kyu̇-ˈrā-, ˈkyu̇r-ə-\

Kids Definition of curator

: a person in charge of a museum or zoo


cu·​ra·​tor | \ ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər, kyu̇-ˈrā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio) \

Legal Definition of curator

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

Other Words from curator

curatorship noun

History and Etymology for curator

Latin, guardian, from curare to take care of

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something desired as essential

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