Alexander Sturgis Appointed Director of the Ashmolean

Posted in museums by Editor on January 25, 2014

From the press release (January 2014) . . .

ash-2The University of Oxford is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Alexander Sturgis as the new Director of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. He will take up the appoint- ment on 1 October 2014, succeeding Professor Christopher Brown CBE, who has been the Museum’s Director since 1998.

Dr Sturgis has had a distinguished career as the Director of the Holburne Museum, Bath, since 2005 and previously held various posts over 15 years at the National Gallery, London, including Exhibitions and Programmes Curator from 1999 to 2005.

Welcoming the appointment of Dr Sturgis, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, said: “We are delighted that Dr Sturgis has agreed to come to Oxford to lead the Ashmolean. The Museum has undergone a substantial transformation in recent years under the outstanding leadership of Christopher Brown. I am fully confident that Dr Sturgis will take forward with equal distinction the next stage of the Ashmolean’s development.”

Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services and University Collections), said: “I am looking forward very much to working with Dr Sturgis as he develops a strategy for the Ashmolean that continues its exceptional trajectory and maximises the contribution of its outstanding collections, both to the teaching and research of the University and to the Museum’s exciting range of activities involving the general public.”

Mr Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum, said: “I am so pleased that Xa Sturgis has decided to come to the Ashmolean. His great success at the Holburne Museum and his previous time at the National Gallery, working closely with Neil McGregor, prepares him well for leadership of this great museum. His past work in the use of collections in education, in arranging successful exhibitions, and in raising visitor numbers six-fold at the Holburne gives him the experience base to build upon the considerable success the Ashmolean has enjoyed in recent times.”

Responding to his appointment, Dr Sturgis said: “I am thrilled to be appointed the next Director of the Ashmolean. It is a huge honour to be given the chance to lead one of the country’s great museums, however hard it will be to leave the Holburne after eight exceptionally happy and eventful years. I look forward to working with the Ashmolean team and Oxford University to build on all that has been achieved at the Museum in recent years.”

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Sturgis’s bio from the Holburne Museum:

Alexander Sturgis studied Modern History at Oxford (1982–85) before completing a PhD in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, London (1985–90).

He joined the National Gallery, London in 1991 where he spent 14 years first as Education Officer (1991–99) and then as Exhibitions and Programmes Curator (1999–2005). During this time he also served as the Director’s Curatorial Assistant helping to set up the Regional Museums Task Force. His exhibition credits at the National Gallery include Seeing Salvation (2000), Telling Time (2000), Bill Viola: The Passions (2003), and Rebels and Martyrs: The Artist in the Nineteenth Century (2006). His list of publications includes Faces (1999) Telling Time (2000) Understanding Paintings: Themes in Art Explored and Explained (2000), and Rebels and Martyrs: The Artist in the Nineteenth Century (2006). He was appointed Director of the Holburne Museum in 2005.

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