All change at Bristol Museums

Laura Pye to become head of culture in January
Mariana Cerqueira
Vivienne Bennett is stepping down as interim head of museums, libraries and archives at Bristol City Council at the end of this month.

She will be succeeded by Laura Pye, interim heritage and culture services manager at Heritage and Culture Warwickshire, who will take over the role on 2 January.

During her time at Bristol Museum, Bennett has been involved in a successful bid for Major Partner Museum status, the institution’s planning for 2015-18 and a staff restructure to meet council cuts.

Bennett said: “It’s been a real privilege to work with this excellent group of people and also with these great collections.

“It will be a challenge for Laura to take over at this point because of the economy but it’s also an exciting time."

The museum faces financial challenges as it has had to deal with cuts from both the local authority and the arts council, she said, but her team has been working hard to increase income towards becoming more financially independent.

Tim Corum, the museum's deputy head, is also leaving in January, after eight years at the organisation. He is joining the Horniman Museum in London as director of curatorial and public engagement.

Bristol Museum is on a good path, said Corum, with visits doubling and earned income trebling.

He said: “The team is an incredible mixture of innovation and professionalism, and has been great to work with. The service has grown in scope as well as confidence, and the next phase of development, which links museums and archives to city arts programmes, will be an exciting one.”

Meanwhile the former head of Bristol Museums, Julie Finch, has returned to the UK after a 10-month stint as the new museum project director for Western Australia Museum in Perth, Australia. Finch has been appointed as chief executive of the Cheltenham Trust, a newly established charitable body that has taken over the management of Cheltenham's leisure and culture services.


Updated to include news of the appointment of Julie Finch to the Cheltenham Trust.

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