Media release: New Australian Museum Director Appointed

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Kim McKay, AO, Director & CEO, 2014 -

Ross Coffey © Ross Coffey

Minister for the Arts, George Souris, today welcomed the appointment of Kim McKay AO as the new Director of the Australian Museum for the next five years starting in April 2014.

Ms McKay will take over from Frank Howarth PSM, who has held the position for the past ten years. Mr Howarth announced in October 2013 that he would not seek re-appointment when his current term expired in February 2014.

Mr Souris said Ms McKay, who was previously a Trustee of the Australian Museum, has held senior international roles with National Geographic as well as running her own consulting businesses.

“I congratulate Kim McKay on her appointment to this exciting and challenging role at one of the State’s major cultural institutions,” Mr Souris said.

“Kim will bring more than 25 years global experience in communicating and promoting science, cultural history, exploration, and the environment to her role.

“She has been extensively involved in the science, cultural history, environmental and tourism sectors in Australia and internationally, working to promote the role of citizen science and actively engaging the public in education, research and social innovation initiatives.

“She will provide strong leadership for the Australian Museum, bringing strategic expertise and significant experience to the task of increasing its funding base and visitor numbers, while championing the core science role of the institution.”

Mr Souris paid tribute to outgoing Director, Frank Howarth, for his dedicated service to the Australian Museum over the past decade.

“Frank Howarth oversaw many positive changes to the operations of the Australian Museum, including the opening of the custom-designed Collections and Research building in 2008, and the creation of both the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics in 2012, and the Australian Museum Research Institute in 2013,” he said.

“He also secured the Alexander the Great exhibition, Australia’s first touring exhibition from the State Hermitage in St Petersburg which attracted record-breaking crowds.

“Under his leadership the Australian Museum introduced video conference learning programs for schools across NSW, seven seasons of the highly successful ‘after hours’ program, Jurassic Lounge, and consolidation of the Museum’s consulting services into a profitable business unit.”

The Australian Museum Board of Trustees President, Catherine Livingstone AO, also welcomed Kim McKay’s appointment.

“We conducted an extensive, independent international search to find the right person to lead the Australian Museum at this critical stage in its history. Ms McKay has significant experience and an international reputation for achievement across a range of sectors and a commitment to driving the profile and activities of the Australian Museum forward,” Ms Livingstone said.

“The Board of Trustees looks forward to working with her to lead the ambitious plans for the evolution of the Australian Museum, as well as raising its profile in Australia and internationally.”

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