Donoghue, who has served as a trustee at the democracy-focussed museum since 2018, takes on the role after a spell in which Lord Steve Bassam and Martin Carr have co-chaired the board.
“I first visited over ten years ago and found a remarkable jewel of a museum fizzing with ambition, radicalism, with an astonishing collection and a visible commitment to tell the story of people power and the fight for justice, equality and democracy,” the new chair notes.
“This is a museum that doesn’t stand still. We receive our mandate from the ongoing campaigns for freedom from around the world, and in this country, and we have a duty to tell those stories, and those from the past, honestly and openly.
“We tell the stories and show the evidence of ideas worth fighting for, and our extraordinary team, across all departments, as well as our volunteers and community partners, bring those stories to life and make them as accessible as possible.”
The appointment comes after a year in which Donoghue has been highly prominent in the sector, serving as an advocate for the tourism industry and extensively lobbying the government to consider the needs of museums, galleries and visitor attractions when making decisions.
This work earned him a nomination for the COVID Special Recognition Award at this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards.
Alongside his role as director of ALVA, Bernard Donoghue has held numerous board roles, including with WWF-UK and Centrepoint. He has been a member of the UK Government’s Tourism Industry Council since 2015 and was this month also appointed chair of Bristol Old Vic.
Katy Ashton, director of People’s History Museum, says she is “thrilled to welcome Bernard” at a time when the museum’s “ambition for telling the stories of ideas worth fight for past, present and future has never been greater”.
Ashton also paid tribute to outgoing co-chairs Lord Steve Bassam and Martin Carr, as well as their predecessors, noting that they have all “helped to shape us into the organisation that you see today”.