Michael Houlihan, Director General of National Museum Wales
, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of one of the worlds leading museums - the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Mr Houlihan has played an instrumental role in shaping the development of the Vision for Amgueddfa Cymru in its 7 constituent National museums as a world-class museum of learning since his appointment in 2003, and more recently has been prominent in leading the debate regarding the positive contribution museums and culture make to the Welsh economy. He has also been a key visionary in laying down the foundations for the future development of St Fagans, so that the museum tells a more comprehensive history of the people and the nation of Wales. Following the announcement, the President of the Board of Trustees of Amgueddfa Cymru, Paul Loveluck, paid tribute to Mr Houlihans leadership and his contribution to promoting Welsh culture and heritage over the last seven years. He also stated that the appointment was testament to the high regard held for Michael Houlihan and Amgueddfa Cymru within the museum world.
Michael Houlihan has led the national museums in Wales through an exciting period of expansion and progress. There has been significant capital investment in new and improved facilities including the groundbreaking National Waterfront Museum in Swansea in 2005 and an exciting programme of exhibitions including partnership schemes with many local galleries and museums throughout Wales. The collections have been developed and are better stored and conserved and the reputation of the Museum has been enhanced at home and overseas, most recently by the highly successful tour of masterpieces from the Davies Sisters' Collection-Turner to Cezanne- in the USA which will open in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC at the end of this month.' said Mr Loveluck.
His appointment reflects not only his own highly regarded reputation and standing within the museum world, but also Amgueddfa Cymrus and we are proud of all that he achieved as our Director General. We wish him all the best in this new and challenging role, and will ensure his legacy is built upon in the future.
In response, Mr Houlihan thanked the Board and all staff members of Amgueddfa Cymru for their support and kind words whilst also expressing his excitement about the opportunity offered to him: It has been a privilege to serve as Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru. During this time, I have truly come to appreciate how integral culture is to Waless national psyche and how we should never lose sight of its importance in underpinning Welsh society and shaping the nations future, said Mr Houlihan.
I am excited about the challenges and different perspectives that I will face in this new role, but undoubtedly my approach will be shaped by my experiences here in Wales and Northern Ireland. Museums cant shy away from telling national stories, no matter how intricate or controversial they may be, and Te Papa is world famous for its innovative approach to demonstrating how culture and community memory has moulded the history and identity of New Zealands communities.
Michael Houlihan will take up his new role at Te Papa later this year.