The British Museum has announced its new permanent Director.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan OBE, who has served as the National Portrait Gallery’s Director since 2015, will take up the role following the approval of the Board of Trustees and the agreement of the Prime Minister.

Cullinan has previously worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Tate Modern in London as a curator.

He was awarded an OBE for services to the Arts in the 2024 King’s New Years Honours list.

New Year Honours recognise National Portrait Gallery, Horniman, National Trust workers

will take over the role from Interim Director Sir Mark Jones this summer.

George Osborne, Chair of the British Museum, said the new appointment “has shown his capacity as Director of the National Portrait Gallery to oversee both a major physical renovation and a compelling renewal of purpose in a way that doesn’t take sides, but brings people together – and won universal acclaim.

“We believe he can achieve this, and more, on the bigger scale of the British Museum as we undertake a once-in-a-generation redevelopment.”

Osbourne said the museum would “owe a huge debt of gratitude” to Sir Jones “for stepping into the breach last year”.

Dr Cullinan said: “I want to pay tribute to my predecessors, most recently Sir Mark Jones, and look forward to building on their extraordinary achievements.

“Leading the remarkable transformation of the National Portrait Gallery over the last decade with its wonderful Trustees, staff and supporters has been the honour of a lifetime and I can’t imagine a better challenge or opportunity to build on that than collectively reimagining the British Museum for the widest possible audience and future generations.”

Back to top