Julie Finch appointed to lead museum redevelopment in Perth

Rebecca Atkinson, 10.10.2013
Director of Bristol museums to join Western Australian Museum
Julie Finch is leaving her position as director of the Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives to lead a A$430m museum redevelopment project in Perth, Western Australia, under chief executive officer Alec Coles.

Construction on a new building for the Western Australian Museum at an existing site in the Perth Cultural Centre will begin in 2016, with the museum opening to visitors in 2020.

Finch, who will take up the position in the new year, said: “Bristol is a great city with a vibrant cultural offer and I will miss colleagues and friends but am looking forward to working in Western Australia and project managing a new museum, which will play a pivotal role in showcasing the city of Perth and its people to the world.”

Bill Seager, the former redevelopment content manager at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, has also been appointed as a creative director for the project. He and Finch will join Trish McDonald, the director of the former Perth Museum, who has been one of the key figures involved in planning for the new museum project.

John Day, the government of Western Australia’s culture and arts minister, said: “These appointments are a significant development in the realisation of a new museum for Western Australia. Each person has a proven track record in creating exceptional museum experiences and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the project."

The Western Australian Museum was established in 1891 in the old Perth gaol, and was known as the Geological Museum. In 1892 ethnological and biological exhibits were added, and in 1897 the museum officially became the Western Australian Museum and Art Gallery.

The museum’s collection now includes more than 4.6 million natural science specimens as well as social and cultural history artefacts and objects. The redevelopment will include new exhibitions based on the three major themes – Being Western Australian, Discovering Western Australia and Exploring the World.

Many of the objects and stories that appear in the new museum will be determined in consultation with community groups.

Finch joined Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives in 2006, and has held her current position since 2009. She was previously the director of the National Football Museum (2004-2006).

She recently joined the board of Arts Council England, and is also a voluntary committee member (South West) for the Heritage Lottery Fund and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Update
11.10.2013

We updated this piece to make it clear that Julie Finch is leading the redevelopment project, appointed by Alec Coles who remains chief executive officer of the Western Australian Museum.

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