New director for Ashmolean announced

Director of Holburne Museum to succeed Christopher Brown
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Alexander Sturgis, the director of the Holburne Museum in Bath, has been appointed to take over the reins at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford when Christopher Brown steps down.

Sturgis will become the 19th director of the Ashmolean in its 331-year history when he takes up the post in October. He has been the director of the Holburne Museum since 2005 and previously worked at the National Gallery for 15 years, holding various posts including exhibitions and programmes curator.

Bernard Taylor, chairman of the board of visitors of the Ashmolean Museum, said: "I am so pleased that Alexander Sturgis has decided to come to the Ashmolean. His great success at the Holburne Museum and his previous time at the National Gallery, working closely with Neil MacGregor, prepares him well for leadership of this great museum.

“His past work in the use of collections in education, in arranging successful exhibitions, and in raising visitor numbers six-fold at the Holburne gives him the experience base to build upon the considerable success the Ashmolean has enjoyed in recent times.”

Sturgis added: “It is a huge honour to be given the chance to lead one of the country’s great museums, however hard it will be to leave the Holburne after eight exceptionally happy and eventful years.”

The Holburne Museum underwent a £11.2 m extension under Sturgis’s leadership, reopening in May 2011.

Brown has been director of the Ashmolean for 16 years, overseeing a £61m rebuild and visitor numbers increasing from 350,000 to more than a million.

He will embark on a sabbatical year before taking up a research professor position at the University of Oxford until 2018. His work will be on the 17th-century artists Van Dyck and Rembrandt, with an exhibition on the latter planned for the Ashmolean in 2016.


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