Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Ex-NMA Director Honoured

National Museum of Australia exterior. Photo: Meredith Foley.

Sally Pryor, Former museum director Craddock Morton delighted to be honoured for the work he loved, Canberra Times, 26 January 2015

Former National Museum director Craddock Morton

Former National Museum director Craddock Morton. Photo: Melissa Adams.

Craddock Morton is almost ashamed to admit how much he actually enjoyed his career, especially now that he’s been honoured for his work.

It’s been five years since he stepped down as director of the National Museum of Australia, and he has since been enjoying a well-earned retirement in Adelaide, but Mr Morton is being honoured for “significant service to the museums sector through leadership roles of national cultural institutions, and to public administration”.

“It would be a very mean and churlish person who wasn’t delighted to have their work recognised, so I am delighted,” he said, of his Australia Day gong.

“But in a larger sense, it’s a recognition of the museum too, and that’s enormously important, and of course it’s a recognition that the museum continues to go very, very well.”

His citation also includes services to public administration – which he feels is a nod to the public sector as a whole.

“Particularly with my career in mind, in a sense it’s a recognition of the job that the public service does in a wider sense,” he said.

“In these hard times, that’s really significant.”

Mr Morton joined the Commonwealth Public Service in 1975, and had a number of ministerial staff positions – including as senior adviser to then prime minister Paul Keating – before becoming director of the Australian Foundation for Culture and Humanities.

He was also chief general manager on the Acton Peninsula Project – the National Museum construction project – before eventually becoming its second director (Dawn Casey was the first) in 2004.

He was reappointed to the role in 2007, and retired in March 2010.

At the time, he maintained that he was glad to be leaving Canberra – at city that had changed considerably since he first joined the public service.

Indeed, he hasn’t returned to the museum, even for a visit, for the past four years, but he said he continued to follow the cultural sector with interest – particularly recent issues regarding collecting institutions.

“I had a very happy and fulfilling career,” he said.

“It’s almost embarrassing to be rewarded for it as well, for doing something that I enjoyed so much.”

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