Mark Taylor steps down as director of the MA

Board begins search for successor to long-standing leader
Mark Taylor is to step down from the Museums Association (MA) after 23 years as its director and almost 30 years on the MA staff.

Speaking on behalf of the board, the MA's president, David Anderson, said: "The museums sector in the UK and overseas could not have asked for a more dedicated, more robust and more consistent champion than Mark Taylor.

"He has served the MA and its members for an unprecedented 30 years. Throughout this time, Mark has helped the sector tackle a host of difficult challenges and capitalise on some major opportunities."

He added: "Mark has also taken the lead on the sector’s response to policy and public affairs during UK governments of all major political colours, together with the sector response to devolution and the emergence of governments, parliaments and assemblies for the home nations.

"This is an extraordinary achievement in itself and I know that all those who lead and work in UK museums will join me and the MA board in offering Mark a huge vote of thanks."

David Fleming, the MA's vice president, said: “Mark has led the MA and its staff through some extraordinary times and has helped secure the MA’s financial future.

"He became director at a time of grave crisis in the MA’s affairs, inheriting potential insolvency, and transformed its financial position through a clear focus on membership and advocacy.

"On his watch the Museums Journal has been transformed, the annual conference has become a major event in the sector’s calendar and the opportunities of digital communication seized. I know that the staff of the MA will join me in congratulating him on a job well done."

Taylor said: "I have had the most extraordinary three decades working for and then leading the MA. It has been a great privilege to serve the world’s oldest museums association and to make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.

"I am delighted that the MA is in robust good health and has a great future ahead of it. I would like to pay a particular tribute to the staff of the MA, whose commitment to the sector, enthusiasm for their work and resilience during difficult times has been truly inspiring."

Taylor began his MA career in 1984 as membership services officer. He was promoted to director in 1990. At the time of taking over the MA was in a difficult financial position with low membership and profile.

23 years later the MA has professionalised in all areas. Its finances are sound, its individual membership has more than tripled, nearly 50,000 people visit its website each month and it has an effective and respected policy and advocacy profile.

The board of the MA has begun the search for a new director and hopes to have made its decision about Mark’s successor by the summer.


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Mark Taylor
MA Member
Director, Museums Association
14.05.2014, 11:36
I just wanted to say thank you to all those who have sent me best wishes on this site, by twitter and e-mail. It is sad to leave but I am confident the MA and my great colleagues will continue to ensure the MA goes from strength to strength.
jane glaister
MA Member
04.05.2014, 11:22
Sorry to see you go Mark - you have been a great Director of the MA and the changes you have led throughout your tenur have been transformational. Thankyou for both your professional and personal support and good luck for the future
Jane x
02.05.2014, 17:31
The National Culture and Leisure Forum will certainly miss you.Thanks in particular for all your support for the Leading
Learning Programme since its inception.
02.05.2014, 17:31
The National Culture and Leisure Forum will certainly miss you.Thanks in particular for all your support for the Leading
Learning Programme since its inception.
Rita McLean
MA Member
Museums & Heritage Consultant, Rita McLean
01.05.2014, 22:04
Mark, and also to Maurice, thanks to both of you for so many years of service advocating for the museums sector. All best wishes for what you do next.
Tamsin Russell
MA Member
Organisational Development Manager, Historic Scotland
01.05.2014, 18:02
So sorry to hear this news - he has been the constant in my career in museums, galleries and heritage. Big shoes to fill!
Alec Coles
MA Member
Chief Executive Officer, Western Australian Museum
01.05.2014, 15:23
All the best Mark.

23 years (not to menton 30 with the MA) is a life sentence by anyone's calculation - and it probably felt like it on some occasions; but no-one could have been more committed to the cause, or loyal to the sector.

Good luck with whatever follows and thanks for all that you have done.

Vanessa Trevelyan
MA Member
Consultant, Vanessa Trevelyan Consultancy
01.05.2014, 10:38
All best wishes to Mark in the next stage of his career. As a past President I know how much energy and commitment he invested in the MA. He is respected throughout the sector and successfully steered the MA through some very difficult times.
Sandra Stancliffe
MA Member
Head of Education, Engllish Heritage
01.05.2014, 09:10
I echo Stephen's thougts. Mark has always been a huge advocate for education and for audiences. You will be missed Mark.
Lucy Shaw
MA Member
Oxford Aspire Manager, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
30.04.2014, 15:11
End of an era with Moz and Mark leaving...
30.04.2014, 16:36
Oh, please, Lucy, surely the *start* of an era. I'm between consultancy meetings, sitting on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, having a drink and gazing across the Thames. This feels like the beginning of a marvellous new phase of my life....
Tim Schadla-Hall
MA Member
Reader in Public Archaeology, University College London
30.04.2014, 14:36
Mark - amazing it seems like a life time-oh - it is!
well done good luck
Susan Kirby
MA Member
30.04.2014, 10:06
Thanks for all your hard work, Mark and for making sure the food at Conference was up to scratch.
29.04.2014, 20:12
So, it looks like it's goodnight from me and goodnight from him. (Hope that makes me Ronnie Corbett and Mark Ronnie Barker)
Georgie Stagg
MA Member
Director's Assistant, Museums Association
30.04.2014, 20:50
So what does that make me? Four candles? No, handles for forks!
Stephen Allen
MA Member
Head of Learning and Programmes, National Museums Scotland
29.04.2014, 14:23
Mark has always been a great supporter of the crucial part learning plays in museums and galleries. Thanks for all your hard work and advocacy for the sector. A tough act to follow!