Luton Culture chief to head RAF Museum

Gareth Harris, 27.10.2014
Maggie Appleton to take up new role in January
Maggie Appleton is leaving her post as chief executive of Luton Culture to become the chief executive of the Royal Air Force Museum which runs across two sites in Cosford, Shropshire, and Hendon, north London.

She replaces Peter Dye who retired as director general in August (the role of chief executive is a new position).

A press spokesman says that Appleton “will be responsible for leading the museum through a major period of transformation in terms of infrastructure, exhibitions and activities which will also cover the period of 2018, the centenary of the RAF”. She takes up the post in January.

Appleton became director of Museums Luton in 2003; she helped secure the Wenlok Jug for Luton after it was export stopped in 2006 (the jug was stolen in May 2012 and recovered later that year). She also oversaw the development of the £6.2m Stockwood Discovery Centre. Appleton became chief executive of the Luton Cultural Services Trust, later Luton Culture, in 2008.

Appleton was elected to the board of the Museums Association (MA) last year for a three-year term. She is also a Heritage Lottery Fund committee member for the east of England.

At the MA conference in Cardiff earlier this month, Appleton told members about her experiences at Luton Culture, in particular coping with a £2m budget cut over three years (2013-16).

“We began work to diversify our income but there were no silver bullets,” she said. Overhauling the culture and museum service meant taking “a forensic look at our presentation of accounts to improve our understanding of real costs”.

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