Ann Sumner resigns as director of Birmingham Museums Trust

Tim Knox appointed as next head of Fitzwilliam
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Simon Stephens
Birmingham Museums Trust is on the hunt for a new boss after Ann Sumner resigned just seven months after becoming director.

Sumner is leaving to become the executive director of the Bronte Society, where she will start in early February.

“Ann Sumner has made a decision for personal and family reasons to relocate to Yorkshire to another role and to be nearer her family and as a result will be stepping down from her role as director in the new year,” said Birmingham Museums Trust chairman Len Clark.

“Ann has made a significant contribution to establishing Birmingham Museums Trust over the last seven months.”

Birmingham gained trust status in April this year and is the largest museum trust in the England. Its venues are Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle.

As an Arts Council England major partner museum, the trust has been awarded £5,091,615 over a three-year period.

Sumner joined Birmingham Museums Trust from the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham, where she started as director in 2007.

Her new role at the Bronte Society will involve the management of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which houses the largest collection of Bronte material in the world.

“I feel honoured and excited to be taking up my new role at the Parsonage in February, and returning to work in the beautiful county of West Yorkshire,” Sumner said.

“As a lifelong Bronte enthusiast I could not be starting at a better time, with refurbishment of the Parsonage Museum coming up in early 2013 and planning for the bicentenary celebrations of Charlotte Bronte’s birth in 2016. I’m hugely looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Bronte Parsonage Museum director Andrew McCarthy left the organisation in the summer to take up a new position with Artworks Creative Communities in Bradford.

In another major museum move, the University of Cambridge has named Tim Knox as director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Knox, who has been director of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London since 2005, is succeeding Timothy Potts at the Fitzwilliam. He will start in April.

The Towner in Eastbourne also announced that its artistic director, Matthew Rowe, will be leaving at the end of the month to take up the position of director at Firstsite in Colchester.

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