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Director of the Manchester Museum, Esme Ward

Esme Ward was appointed as Director of Manchester Museum in April 2018 with a commitment to lead a more inclusive, caring and imaginative museum. She is the first woman to hold the role in its 125 year history.

Prior to this, Esme was Head of Learning & Engagement across Manchester Museum and the Whitworth where she led the growth of audiences and programmes, to include award-winning early years, health and culture and age friendly work. Her career has been driven by learning and social purpose with a longstanding commitment to make museums more inclusive and relevant to a wider audience. 

Esme is currently leading a £15 million ambitious capital project, hello future to transform Manchester Museum into a bigger and more extraordinary place to visit and renew its creative and civic mission to bring more joy, inspiration and care to its communities.

Esme sits on several national boards and networks including, Co-Chair of the National Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance; Co-chair of the University Museums Group; Environmental Sustainability Lead for Manchester Cultural Leaders Group and sits on the National Museums Directors’ Executive Council.  She is a fellow of the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme, and Honorary Professor of Heritage Futures at the Institute for Cultural Practices, University of Manchester.