8 April 2015
From the section Entertainment & Arts
Neil MacGregor has seen visitor numbers increase from 4.6 million a year to 6.7 million under his watch
Neil MacGregor has announced he is to step down as director of the British Museum.
MacGregor told colleagues he had made the “very difficult decision” to leave in December this year, stating he wanted to stop working full-time.
Since joining in 2002, MacGregor has been credited with reforming its one-time “stuffy” image to make it one of the world’s most visited attractions.
He said the role had been the “greatest privilege of my professional life”.
Major success stories under his watch have included its History of the World project, which attempted to tell the world’s history in 100 objects. The project, which included a 100-part series on BBC Radio 4, featured objects such as the world’s oldest football.
The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army exhibition in 2007 and Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry’s Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman in 2011 also drew in the crowds.
And overall, visitor numbers to the museum in central London have also risen from 4.6 million a year to 6.7 million since 2002.
AnalysisWill Gompertz, Arts editor
Perhaps Neil MacGregor’s greatest achievement as the boss of the British Museum has been transforming it from a slightly old-fashioned institution with a chilly welcome, into one if the world’s most popular visitor attractions without feeling the need to dumb down.
In fact, his success stems from having the confidence to assume the public are not stupid, but are open-minded and intellectually curious.
As a leader he has been dynamic, innovative and popular, although I understand he was never particularly keen on the details. The task facing the trustees is to find a successor who can firstly consolidate MacGregor’s achievements and build upon them.
It won’t be easy.
Having made the decision to leave, the end of …read more
Source:: BBC Entertainment