Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

UK museum leaders recognised in NY hons

Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, has received a CBE. By Tate Photography – Tate Galleries, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65407802.

Nandni Sharma, Museum, arts and heritage professionals recognised in New Year Honours, Museums Association, 4 January 2023

Tate Modern director Frances Morris and cultural recovery czar Neil Mendoza receive CBEs

The UK Government’s commissioner for cultural recovery during the pandemic, Neil Mendoza, is among the museum, gallery and heritage professionals who have been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Mendoza, who also led the 2017 government review of museum provision in England, has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).

Frances Morris, director of London’s Tate Modern gallery, also received a CBE.

Morris is stepping down at the end of April after seven years in the role. Tate director Maria Balshaw said she had “radically transformed the way the story of modern art is presented and led the expansion of Tate’s collection into new areas, significantly extending its international reach”.

Chris Stringer, a research leader at the Natural History Museum and a fellow of the Royal Society, received a CBE for his work towards understanding human origins and evolution.

Stringer said: “I’m delighted to be awarded the CBE and accept this as an honour not just for me but for all the people I’ve worked with on human evolution studies over the last 50 years or so, both within and outside the Natural History Museum.”

Further recognition went to Natural History Museum botanist Sandra Knapp and palaeontologist Richard Fortey, both of whom received OBEs (Officer of the Order of the British Empire).

Knapp’s botanical research ranges from tropical forest diversity and threatened species to understanding the history of botanical science and collections. She said: “It is lovely to have botany, the study of plants, recognised in this way. My huge thanks to all who have supported me and worked throughout the years – this is for all of us.”

Sarah Munro, the director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle-Gateshead, was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to art.

Pamela Robertson, former senior curator at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, received an MBE for services to architecture.

A number of leading British artists were knighted in this year’s honours, including the artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.

Akomfrah is a previous winner of the art prize, Artes Mundi, and has exhibited his work at museums worldwide. His film Mimesis: African Soldier, which addresses the stories of the unsung soldiers who volunteered to fight the first World War for colonial forces, debuted at the Imperial war Museum in London in 2018.

Artist, writer and broadcaster Grayson Perry also received a knighthood. A trustee of the British Museum and chancellor of the University of the Arts, London, Perry’s contribution to art has been significant.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he encouraged people to show their lockdown artworks through his production, Grayson’s Art Club.

Honours for museum, arts and heritage professionals


  • John Akomfrah CBE, visual artist. For services to the arts.
  • Grayson Perry, artist, writer and broadcaster. For services to the arts.

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire

  • Madeleine Bessborough OBE, founder, New Art Centre. For services to art, to art education and to Salisbury Cathedral.
  • Peter Kyle, lately chair, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. For services to Cultural Heritage
  • Frances Morris, director, Tate Modern. For services to the arts.
  • Neil Mendoza, commissioner for culture. For services to arts and culture.
  • Eve Salomon, chair of the Horniman Museum OBE, for services to arts and heritage
  • Christopher Stringer, research leader, human evolution, Natural History Museum. For services to the understanding of human evolution.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

  • Peter Aiers, lately chief executive, Churches Conservation Trust. For services to heritage.
  • Philip Batty, director of Ceremonies, Cultural Programmes and Queen’s Baton Relay, 2022 Commonwealth Games. For services to sport and to culture.
  • Timothy Eyles, chair, Royal Society of Arts. For services to the arts.
  • Richard Fortey, senior palaeontologist, Natural History Museum, for services to paleontology and geology.
  • Sandra Knapp, botanist and individual merit researcher, Natural History Museum. For services to botany and the public understanding of science.
  • Simon Mellor, deputy chief executive, arts and museums, Arts Council England. For services to the arts.

Members of the Order of the British Empire

  • Edson Burton, writer, academic and curator. For services to the arts and to the community in Bristol.
  • Verena Cornwall, head of culture and place, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. For services to Local Government and to the community in Kensington and Chelsea.
  • Andrew Crummy, designer and artist. For services to art and to cultural heritage in Scotland.
  • John Gill, for services to the arts, to culture and to education.
  • Deborah Greaves, curator, Tenterden and District Museum. For services to the community in Tenterden, Kent.
  • Meryl Hayward, director, corporate services, Historic England. For services to heritage.
  • Peter Jardine, volunteer, Isle of Wight Steam Railway. For services to heritage railway.
  • Edward Mallinson, chair and boat manager, the Shamrock Trust. For services to steam boating heritage and to the community in Cumbria.
  • Sarah Munro, director, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. For services to art.
  • Hamad Nasar, curator, author and art historian. For services to the arts.
  • Ingrid Pollard, artist. For services to art.
  • John Reyntiens, stained glass artist. For services to art and heritage.
  • Pamela Robertson, lately curator, Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. For services to architecture.
  • Keranjeet Virdee, chief executive and artistic director, South Asian Arts UK. For services to the arts, particularly South Asian music and dance.
  • Claire Whitaker, member, Culture Recovery Board. For services to the arts and culture.
  • Jenifer White, historic landscape adviser, Historic England. For services to heritage and to historic parks and garden.

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

  • Clare Donegan, military artist. For services to art.
  • Kathleen Maclean, lately trustee, Architectural Heritage Fund. For services to heritage.
  • Keith Schnaar, museum guide and National Fellowship volunteer, Order of St John. For voluntary service to St John Ambulance in London.
  • Reverend Jason Young, writer and director. For services to cultural heritage and public awareness of Black British history through the creative arts.
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