UK historian to quit, to offer expertise for Mumbai museum

The chief of London's prestigious British Museum has decided to quit and will be taking on a more part-time role advising a leading museum in India.

London:The chief of London's prestigious British Museum has decided to quit and will be taking on a more part-time role advising a leading museum in India.

Neil Macgregor,68, will step down as director of the British Museum, one of London's most popular tourist attractions in December this year after which he will be offering his expertise to Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Museum which was formerly known as Prince of Wales Museum.

"In Mumbai, I look forward to working on the presentation of world cultures with the CSMVS Museum and its director, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, under whose tenure it has emerged as one of the finest and most active museums in South and South-east Asia," the art historian said.

"We have built strong partnerships with fellow museums across the UK, and are rapidly expanding our programme of loans and training around the world," he added.

Although he will no longer be working full-time, MacGregor said he would be involved in a number of projects including working with the BBC and the British Museum on a new Radio 4 series on faith and society.

"Neil MacGregor has been an outstanding director of the British Museum and has made an extraordinary contribution to public life in the UK and beyond.

"The trustees are hugely grateful for everything he has done to bring the collection to life, and to tell its many different stories. We respect his decision to move on, and want to support him in his new projects," said Richard Lambert, Museum chairman.

He will also be giving advice and guidance to the German Minister of Culture, Monika Grutters on Berlin's ambitious Humboldt Forum museum project along with the Indian museum.

In his 13 years at the helm of the British Museum he has overseen a near 50 per cent increase in visitor numbers, making it the second-most visited museum in the world after the Louvre in Paris.

The overall visitor numbers to the museum in central London have also risen from 4.6 million a year to 6.7 million since 2002.