New role for David Gaimster

Published: 16 January 2017

Professor David Gaimster, Director of The Hunterian, is to leave the University of Glasgow to take up a major role in New Zealand.

It was announced today that Hunterian Director, Professor David Gaimster, is to leave the University of Glasgow to take up a major new role in New Zealand.

Professor Gaimster has been Director of The Hunterian for over 6 years. He has been appointed Director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, described as New Zealand's first Museum and is expected to take up his new role in March.

Professor Gaimster said: "It has been a great pleasure and privilege to lead The Hunterian over the last six and a half years. It has been particularly rewarding to help deliver the Kelvin Hall Phase 1 project, working in close partnership with the City of Glasgow, Glasgow Life and the National Library of Scotland. The Hunterian Collections Study Centre at Kelvin Hall is the most extensive in the Higher Education world and the envy of our peers.

"I am also proud to have witnessed the expansion of our academic and student engagement offers and a year on year rise in our visitor figures. None of these achievements would have been possible without the dedication and professionalism of my colleagues in The Hunterian and so many others around the University of Glasgow who embraced our ambition for innovation in university museum practice.

"The decision to leave the University has been an extremely difficult one, but I am comforted in the knowledge that the new Director of The Hunterian will inherit a strong platform for even greater innovation as the next phase of the Kelvin Hall project evolves."

The Secretary of University Court, David Newall, said: "I would like to wish David every success with this new appointment, but he is a real loss to the University. The Hunterian now has a greater impact than ever before on the academic work of the University and on the wider community. I am very grateful to David for the leadership and commitment he has shown in his years as Director of the Hunterian.'

Professor Gaimster has led The Hunterian through a significant period of change:

  • A significant shift in our strategic priorities – more fully aligning them with those of the University and making greater use of the collections to support research, teaching and public impact
  • Year on year increase in visitor numbers (198,000 visitors to the Museum and Art Gallery in 2016 – our footfall is now amongst the highest for a university campus-based museum anywhere in the world) and much increased digital offer
  • A greatly enhanced student engagement offer which is recognised as hugely innovative amongst our peers
  • The formation of a number of international research networks and partnerships, further establishing The Hunterian as a key player on the international cultural stage
  • The launch of The Hunterian in the South, a rotational showcase which brings a flavour of the collections to the University’s Crichton campus in Dumfries
  • The launch and steady growth of The Hunterian Friends, our community of support

Professor Gaimster has made a very significant contribution to the wider cultural sector in Scotland too, particularly as a Board member of both Museums Galleries Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

Recruitment for a new Hunterian Director will start this month. Deputy Director, Mungo Campbell, will fulfil the role of Acting Director in the interim period.

Moving forward, it is very much business as usual for The Hunterian. 2016 was a highly successful year and the future is equally exciting with the William Hunter Tercentenary celebrations taking place in 2018 and the planned further development of Kelvin Hall Phase 2.

First published: 16 January 2017

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