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New Director General for NMGW

The National Museums & Galleries of Wales (NMGW) has appointed the current Chief Executive of the National Museums & Galleries of Northern Ireland (MAGNI) as its next Director General.

Michael Houlihan replaces Anna Southall as NMGW Director and will take up his new role in April 2003.

Mr Houlihan, 54, is an experienced and distinguished figure in the museums and heritage sector, having previously worked at a senior level in a number of the UK's leading national and regional museums.

Between 1971 and 1984, he rose to be Keeper of Permanent Exhibitions and Head of Exhibitions Research at the Imperial War Museum before joining the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London as Deputy Director and then Director from 1994. Mr Houlihan was appointed the first Chief Executive of MAGNI in 1998.

At MAGNI, he has led the merger of three separate, nationally funded museums; giving them a unified focus and vision and has developed an ambitious programme for them.

These achievements have been realised in very challenging circumstances but with the Museum receiving strong support from all sectors of the community.

NMGW President Paul Loveluck, said: "I'm delighted that we have secured the services of a Director General of such high regard and renown. Michael's wide-ranging experience and distinguished track record at National Museums combined with the energy he has shown throughout his career augers well for the continuation of the work of Anna Southall and my predecessor, Mathew Prichard.

"NMGW is facing an exciting and challenging future. Free entry is already attracting many more visitors. Throughout his career Michael Houlihan has placed great emphasis on making the collections both relevant and accessible and we look forward to the contribution he will make when he joins NMGW."

Michael Houlihan said: "With the National Museums & Galleries of Wales holding collections of such national and international importance, the diversity of its sites and stories and the expertise of its staff and Council it is a great privilege for me to join the team"

Further information from Helen Talfryn Walters, Senior Press & PR Officer, on 02920 573141 or Robin Gwyn, Director of Strategic Communications, on 02920 573162
Date: 24 October 2002
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