British Museum puts forward former V&A Museum leader as new director

The new appointment, subject to approval by the PM, would replace Hartwig Fischer following his resignation

The British Museum is putting forward a new Interim Director, taking over from Hartwig Fischer while a new permanent appointment is found.

Sir Mark Jones FRSE has received the unanimous approval of the Board of Trustees to become its Interim Director said George Osborne, Chair of the British Museum.

Jones previously worked at the museum, having been Assistant Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum from 1974 to 1990 and then Keeper of Coins and Medals from 1990-1992.

He went on to direct the National Museums of Scotland from 1992 to 2001, and was Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum from 2001 to 2011.

He led a ten-year, £120 million programme of renewal of V&A and its displays which transformed two thirds of its building.

From 2011 until 2016 he was Master of St Cross College. In 2012, he established an independent bookshop in Edinburgh, the Golden Hare, which went on to be named Independent Bookshop of the Year 2019.

He is Chair of the Pilgrim Trust, the National Trust for Scotland, and Hospitalfield.

Osbourne called Jones “one of the most experienced and respected museum leaders in the world”.

The appointment is still subject to the Prime Minister’s approval.

Osbourne went on: “We are both clear that his priorities are to accelerate the cataloguing of the collection, improve security, and reinforce pride in the curatorial mission of the museum.

The appointment follows the resignation of Hartwig Fischer, in the wake of reported thefts at the museum.

Dr. Carl Heron, the museum’s director of scientific research, is also to temporarily replace Dr. Jonathan Williams, who ‘took a step back’ from normal duties last week while an independent review into the thefts at the museum is carried out.

Osbourne said: “I promised we would learn lessons and then lay the foundations for a strong future. Mark’s appointment is a big step in that direction. I look forward to working together.”