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Giles Waterfield Memorial Lecture: What are university museums for today?

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We are delighted to invite Luke Syson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum for an entertaining lecture exploring what a university museum is for.

Giles Waterfield was an expert on the history of museums. He was also an innovative and talented museum director. Yet perhaps even he would have been surprised by the challenges the Museum sector currently faces, regionally, nationally and internationally that have required both local and global responses.

What, these days, are museums for? Especially those whose primary collections are of European art? And what role in particular might university museums play? How might they support, or even play a leading role, in change?

Luke Syson explores these questions and how the role of university museums can include demonstrating how items in collections can provide simple roads to histories that are often complex, containing no easy answers about the past, but plenty of clues that point to the present.

The evening will start with a drinks reception at 6.30pm, a free drink is included in the price of the ticket.

Luke Syson is the fourteenth Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. From 2012-19, he was Chairman of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where he led on the complete refurbishment of the British Galleries, a $22m project, which opened in March 2020. Luke has held curatorial positions at the British Museum, V&A and the National Gallery – where he led the successful campaign to acquire Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks for the nation and curated the highly-acclaimed exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci – Painter at the Court of Milan in 2011.

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