Curators have a primary responsibility for the acquisition, care, display, and interpretation of works of art… . As museums face new and challenging realities, curators must work with their institutions to develop programs that maintain the integrity of collections and exhibitions, foster community support, and generate revenue. (AAMC & AAMC Foundation Strategic Plan 2009–20121)

The above statement from the Association of Art Museum Curators reflects a commonplace in museum studies: the primary role of museums is to preserve and interpret works of art. It also reflects the reality of museums in today's society, the need to increase community support (usually measured by the number of visitors) and find the financial resources that museums need to sustain themselves. The changing reality of museums—and, by extension, curators—mirrors the very changes that are leading JEMAHS to host this Forum on alternative careers to academia; the widespread reassessment of the utility of...

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