The National Trust has appointed John Orna-Ornstein as its first Director of Curation and Experience.
John will join the conservation charity from Arts Council England, where he has been the national Director of Museums and regional director for arts and culture in the East of England.
During that time, he has played a key role in funding, developing and advocating for England’s regional museums at a time of huge pressure on their public funding.
He spent his early career as a curator in the British Museum’s department of coins and medals, going on to lead the museum’s programme of national work and its community partnerships across London.
John will join the Trust in June and will lead the delivery of one of the charity’s key strategic aims – to provide experiences for its visitors that ‘move, teach and inspire’ across its many built and outdoor places.
He will have specific responsibility for leading the curatorial and visitor experience strategies at the Trust, which welcomed a record numbers of people to its houses, countryside and coastline last year.
Helen Ghosh, the Trust’s Director General, said: “John’s career is an impressive blend of curation, public engagement and arts experience, both at a hands-on and strategic level, making him the outstanding candidate for this key role.
“It’s an exciting time for John to be joining our charity. We’re doubling the number of curators we employ – from 36 to around 65 full time staff over the next two years. These changes mean that the Trust is committed to investing more in curatorial excellence than at any time in its history.”
Commenting on his appointment, John said: “The National Trust cares for many of my favourite places as well as some extraordinary collections.
“I’m enormously excited to have the opportunity to work with the Trust in bringing those places and collections to life, and making sure they are relevant to the widest possible range of people across the UK.
“As I leave Arts Council England I’m proud of what it is achieving, and particularly of the new funding and support it is making available to museums. I’ll look forward to exploring new opportunities for the Trust to collaborate with artists, creative organisations and museums.”