Redundancy leaves museum without director

The director of Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, Suffolk, has been made redundant
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
Diane Perkins, who was appointed director of the birthplace museum of Thomas Gainsborough in 2004, was made redundant from the role earlier this month.

Brian Moody, chairman of Gainsborough’s House Society, said increasing costs and fewer opportunities for funding meant the museum’s trustees needed to reduce fixed expenditure.

“Rather than running at an increasing deficit, we have tried to reduce costs, saving us money and giving us more flexibility to spend money when we need to,” he added.

But Perkins told Museums Journal the decision was “unexpected” as Suffolk County Council recently renewed its annual grant to Gainsborough's House.

“I feel that to leave museums like Gainsborough's House without any curatorial staff, specialist expertise or clear leadership role is on a par with a hospital saving money by getting rid of the doctors,” she said.

The house will celebrate its 50th anniversary as a museum this year with an exhibition Diana and Actaeon Revealed (11 June – 17 September) exploring the painter's masterpiece from the Royal Collection.

Perkins told Museums Journal that she was concerned that loans from several national museums might not be able to go ahead in light of her redundancy, as the museum does not employ any art handlers or conservators.

However, Moody said the exhibition would go ahead and will be curated by the art historian Christopher Lloyd, who is also a trustee of Gainsborough's House.

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