New role for David Gaimster

Professor David GaimsterProfessor David Gaimster, Director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, is to leave the University to take up a major role in New Zealand.

It's just been announced that he has been appointed Director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The museum is described as New Zealand's first Museum. It portrays the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. The Museum is a war memorial for the province of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand's top three heritage libraries. It holds pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.

David told Campus e-News: "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."

It's believed Professor Gaimster will take up his new role in March. 

Leadership and commitment

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.'

A spokeswoman for the Hunterian said Professor Gaimster had led the museum and art gallery 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

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.







First published: 12 January 2017