The director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Martin Roth, is to step down this autumn after five years in the role. Roth announced his decision this morning, saying: ‘It’s been an enormous privilege and tremendously exciting to lead this great museum, with its outstanding staff and collections, and I’m proud to have steered it to new successes and a period of growth and expansion, including new partnerships around the UK and internationally.’
Since taking up the position in September 2011 Roth has overseen significant improvement works at the museum’s Kensington site, including the renovation of its Europe 1600–1815 galleries, and a major expansion project set to open next year. The museum’s exhibitions programme has drawn record numbers of visitors, while the announcement of a new outpost in east London’s Queen Elizabeth Park, and strategic partnerships in Dundee and Shenzhen, have increased its national and international reach. Last year, the V&A won Apollo’s Acquisition of the Year award for its succesful campaign to purchase a set of four bronze angels commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey, and this summer it was named the Art Fund Museum of the Year.
The Sunday Times broke the news of Roth’s departure yesterday (4 September), suggesting that the German director was disillusioned with the UK following the EU referendum – an issue he discussed with Apollo earlier this summer.
The loss of the National Glass Centre would be a shattering blow