Swindon’s drive to have a new Museum and Art Gallery in the town centre has been significantly boosted with the appointment of Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, who is currently the Science Museum’s Head of Collections and Chief Curator, as Director of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust.
Hadrian, 47, will have responsibility for overseeing a fundraising strategy, managing the design and build of the new museum and art gallery, and developing its forward programme of exhibitions and activities.
The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust was incorporated on 29 October 2015 under the chairmanship of Robert Hiscox and run by a board of 5 locally-based trustees, including the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Brian Mattock. It was registered as a Charity in February 2016.
The Trust is managing the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery project which has two key aims: to create a fitting home for Swindon’s museum and art collections, including the nationally significant collection of British 20th Century Modern Art, and use its location to boost regeneration of the economy and attractiveness of the town centre.
Swindon Borough Council has pledged £5m towards the project with the rest of the estimated £22.5m build cost being raised by the Trust from grants and donations.
Robert Hiscox, pictured right, said: “We are delighted to have attracted a Director of such calibre to lead our project to build a new museum and art gallery to be the heart of the new cultural quarter in Swindon.
“Hadrian has hugely valuable experience, recently at the acclaimed Science Museum, and his knowledge of art and science and his senior roles in museum management give great credibility to the venture.”
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Delivering a new museum and art gallery is one of the Council’s pledges and forms an integral part of our plans to breathe new life into the town centre.
“Hadrian’s appointment will help us in our quest to deliver on that pledge and his expertise will be invaluable as we continue the bid process with the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, said: “I feel both honoured and privileged to be appointed the Trust’s first Director.
“This is an incredibly exciting and once-in-a-career opportunity to make a real difference: to build a new art gallery and museum; to maximize the potential of, and continue to develop, a really great collection; and, building on the successes of the past and working with local communities, to place the art gallery and museum and its activities at the very heart of the town and its cultural life.
“In my previous role at the Science Museum Group, I have often been a visitor to Swindon. I am really looking forward to working with the great people and wonderful collection here.”
In addition to his current role, which involves directing the output of curators, academics, scientists, librarians, archivists, content and collection professionals and other technical specialists to increase access to and relevance of the museums’ activity and collections, Hadrian has also worked at the British Museum, and was a visiting fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and more latterly across the Science Museum Group of museums.
Externally, he has worked with a wide range of trustees, sponsors, donors, government departments, learned societies and other external museums and galleries, and is a Director of the Collections Trust and Chair of Arts Council England’s Accreditation Committee for museums and galleries across the United Kingdom.
Hadrian takes up his post in June.
Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust is made up of Robert Hiscox, Lord Joel Joffe, Nicky Alberry, Peter Troughton, Brian Mattock