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Hartwig Fischer quits as British Museum Director

Hartwig Fischer is to step down as Director of the British Museum in 2024.

He's led the global institution for eight years. An international search for the next Director of the Museum will begin in this Autumn. Fischer will support the transition over the coming months.

Fischer took up the role in April 2016, succeeding Neil MacGregor.

Announcing his departure, Hartwig Fischer said: “In 2016, I was called to the British Museum to prepare the essential renovation of a building in need of rejuvenation, a global icon of museum architecture whose complex architectural substance calls for urgent, large-scale intervention. The renovation work itself will take several decades, but the mission I was given by the Trustees has been accomplished: the foundations of the BM Masterplan are now laid.

Hartwig Fischer posing in the Great Court of the British Museum
Hartwig Fischer © Benedict Johnson

“I have had the privilege of leading a team of outstanding professionals and collaborating with inspiring partners, communities and institutions from across the UK and the world. I am very proud of what we have achieved. It is now time to pass on leadership to continue creating a truly global museum whilst remaining at the heart of Britain’s cultural life."

George Osborne, Chair of the British Museum, said: “On behalf of the Trustees and the staff of the British Museum, I want to thank Hartwig for his incredible service. Hartwig can look back on his eight years as Director with pride in his great achievements.

“Above all, he has been a person of integrity, inquiry and industry who has given everything to the British Museum over these years. The Trustees respect his decision to move on to new ventures next year. The publication of our Masterplan this autumn, and the architectural competition and construction work that follows will be a great challenge."

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer said: "I thank Hartwig for his sterling leadership of the British Museum over the last eight years. From leading the organisation through the pandemic and welcoming back millions of visitors a year, to opening up a world-class storage and research facility and developing partnerships around the world, Hartwig leaves a valuable legacy.

"The British Museum will continue to thrive and I look forward to seeing what the next chapter in this great institution's history holds."

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