Sharon Heal appointed director of the Museums Association

Geraldine Kendall, 21.10.2014
Head of publications and events to become MA's first female director
The Museums Association (MA) has appointed Sharon Heal as its new director. Heal, who is currently the head of publications and events at the MA, will take over the role on 17 November.

Heal has a background in journalism, publishing and event creation, and has been the editor of Museums Journal for the past nine years. She is set to become the MA’s first female director.

David Anderson, the MA’s president and director general of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: “The MA has achieved record membership this year; we have set our sights high for what we can achieve in the future.

"Our new director will bring exceptional energy and expertise to the MA at a critical time when the sector faces huge challenges but also great opportunities.”

Heal said: "I am delighted to take on this new challenge at the MA. I am deeply committed to the sector and believe in museums’ potential to change people’s lives.

"I have seen first-hand the impact that museums can have in terms of wellbeing, health, education and community cohesion. The MA will support museums across the UK to develop their work in this area.

“The MA will speak up on members’ behalf and make the case for a strong museum sector to government. To do this effectively we must also collaborate to find common cause with other sector bodies and government agencies and this will be my priority as we move forward.”

Sharon Ament, the director of the Museum of London and a member of the recruitment panel, said: “The MA is the single representative body for all museums in the UK, and times demand strong, innovative and positive leadership, which Sharon Heal will provide.

"Under her guidance the MA will seek out opportunities that will strengthen and reinforce the sector. It's a scary, difficult and potentially exciting time of extreme change - Sharon has the credentials and energy to meet those challenges head-on.”

Heal replaces the MA’s former director Mark Taylor, who stepped down earlier this year after 25 years in the role.


Download the full press release (word)


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Timothy Ambrose
MA Member
Principal, Timothy Ambrose Consulting
22.10.2014, 16:36
That's terrific news, Sharon. Many congratulations and good luck for the future in the new post.
Stuart Davies
MA Member
Managing Director, Stuart Davies Associates
22.10.2014, 15:04
Many congratulations Sharon. I wish you all the very best in your time ahead as Director. Stuart.
22.10.2014, 14:16
Congratulations to Sharon Heal. But Brenda Capstick OBE was the first woman to be chief executive (then called Secretary) of the Museums Association, 1965 - 1983. She was made an Honorary Fellow.
Patrick Steel
MA Member
Website Editor, Museums Association
22.10.2014, 14:45
Thanks very much for pointing that out Max. It could be argued that we're splitting hairs, but technically the post of secretary was disestablished and replaced by the post of director in 1983. Three men have held the post since then, making Sharon Heal the first female director.