Ask a Curator : Questions for your curator
By Jim Richardson
Next week Ask a Curator day will take place across social media platforms, with more than 1000 museums, historic houses, galleries, libraries, aquariums and zoos expected to take part.
But what do you do if your institution doesn’t have a huge social media following? What if you don’t get many questions?
My first tip would be to start asking for questions now. Don’t expect people to drop everything and ask a question between 10am and 11am on the 16th September. Collect questions and be ready to post answers online.
Secondly, watch the hashtag #askacurator and answer anything relevant that you see on this during the day. Don’t just wait for people to direct questions to you.
And finally we’ve pulled together a list of the best questions from previous years. You can use these to kickstart the event and create content which will interest your audience and inspire engagement.
What does your typical day look like?
What’s the weirdest object in your collection?
What do you love about your job?
What’s your favourite object?
Have you ever broken an object?
What’s your most valuable object?
What’s your oldest object?
How have you done your job during the pandemic?
If you could add any object to your collection, what would it be?
Which artist alive or dead, would you like to meet?
Who is your favourite artist?
Who is your favourite scientist?
Who is your favourite figure from history?
Is your museum haunted?
How do you get a job in a museum?
What is your museum doing to diversity your collection?
What’s a surprising fact about your museum?
What’s your favourite museum to visit other than your own?
Do you collect anything yourself?
What’s the difference between a curator and a conservator?
What’s on a Curators playlist?
How can I get my art in a museum?
What’s in a curators bag?
Which object would you like to see come to life?
What item would you most like to take home and why?
Do you have any cats in your collection?
If you could only save one object from a fire, what would it be?
Why are museums important?
What’s your largest object?
If you could live at any time, what year would you choose?
What’s the role of a museum in 2020?
What’s the strangest thing to ever happen in your museum?
Why did you become a curator?
What part of your job has surprised you?
Which object would you use to explain humanity to Aliens?
Got any advice for someone who wants to become a curator?
How are you making your museum relevant to young people?
What’s your favourite museum smell?
What’s your favourite film?
How can museums support #BlackLivesMatter?
Who is the most famous person to visit your museum?
Zombies attack, which museum object do you use to fight them?
What is the newest piece in your collection?
Have any items in your collection gone viral?
Describe your job with a song title…
Which object has the most interesting story?
Can you tell us a fun fact about your museum?
What makes your museum unique?
Which is your favourite room in your museum and why?
What object from your collection would you get a tattoo of?
Which object from your collection should get its own movie?
If a TV show was set in your museum, what would it be called?
How do you come up with ideas for exhibitions?
How is your museum working to reach diverse audiences?
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
How do you keep your collection safe?
How are you collecting the digital world?
How is climate change affecting your museum?
Who is your favourite female artist?
Who is your favourite black artist?
Have you added any objects to your collection to represent 2020?
How does technology help you with your job?
If you could sum up your job with a meme, what would it be?
What’s your most popular exhibit?
What’s your favourite gift shop item?
Where did your collection come from?
Do you have any objects with uncomfortable histories?
What do you have on your office wall?
What makes you proud to be a curator?
What was the first museum you visited?
If you weren’t a curator, what job would you do?
How has the role of a curator changed?
If you could start your own museum, what would it be about?
What object from your collection help us understand life?
What’s your favourite picture of your museum?
Do you have any wisdom for aspiring curators?
Tell us a secret? Where do you keep all the things not on display?
What’s the most dangerous object in your collection?
Do you have any objects that you don’t know anything about?
Do you have any objects with a great story that can’t be verified?
Are there any objects in your collection that scare you?
Have you discovered that any items in your collection are fake?
Have you ever been moved you to tears by your collection?
How oen do you collaborate with other museums?
What dream object is missing from your collection?
If you could take an object home, what would you choose?
What’s the most popular item in your collection?
Do you have any animals living in the museum?
How does your museum represent LGBTQ people in its galleries?
Has anything ever been stolen from your museum?
Why do museums show so much nudity?
How are you bringing non white voices into your exhibitions?
What fun scribbles have you seen on the back of paintings?
What do curators wear?
When nobody is looking do you touch the art?
How do you feel about unpaid internships?
What’s the most difficult artefacts to preserve?
I only have one hour to spend at the museum, what should I see?
If money was no object, what would you buy for your museum?
What does a typical day look like?
Have you ever changed an exhibition because of a review?
Which superpower would be most useful to a curator?
What jobs other than ‘curator’ can someone do in a museum?
What’s the biggest misconception about curators?
How many curators does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Do you wear an arty face mask?
Do you have a tattoo?
What item in your collection sparks joy?
What’s the most unusual thing le at the museum?
Do art curators secretly wish they had dinosaurs?
About the author – Jim Richardson
Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with the museum sector on digital and innovation projects for more than twenty years and now spends his time championing best practice through MuseumNext.