Elizabeth Selby has been appointed Interim Director of Dorset Museum and the Dorset and Natural History and Archaeological Society by the Society’s Board of Trustees, following the departure of former Executive Director Dr Jon Murden in December.
In this position, she will work alongside the newly appointed Chair of DNHAS, Jean Lang, and Roger Maughan, Commercial Director.
Elizabeth joined Dorset Museum in May 2016, initially planning and developing four new permanent exhibition galleries as part of the Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset project, a £16.4m capital development that has reimagined and transformed the Museum. In October 2018 Elizabeth became Director of Collections and Public Engagement, overseeing a new department that delivered the curatorial and engagement aspects of the project to completion. Following the Museum’s reopening in May 2021, she has led the curatorial, learning and community engagement programme.
Prior to her time at Dorset Museum, Elizabeth was a curator at the Jewish Museum London for 10 years, where she worked on the Museum’s redevelopment between 2006-2010, and curated a number of successful temporary exhibitions. She has also worked at the Imperial War Museum London and King’s College London Archives. She has a background in modern European history.
Elizabeth will continue to work closely with Roger Maughan, Commercial Director, who heads up the commercial and operational side of the business.
Elizabeth becomes Interim Director at an exciting and pivotal time for the Museum. Following the reopening, the Dorset Museum was shortlisted for the Kids in Museums Small Family Friendly Museum Award and was awarded the accolade of ‘Best Told Story’ from Visit England – given to attractions that tell their story in a memorable and creative way. The Museum continues to develop an exciting programme of special exhibitions. Scene through Wood: A Century of Modern Wood Engraving, a touring exhibition from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, has recently opened, and a major exhibition on Thomas Hardy across all four Wessex Museums Partnership museums (Dorset, Salisbury, Wiltshire and Poole) opens at the end of May. The Museum continues to work on a number of impactful community engagement projects most recently My Creative Life, delivered in partnership with the Arts Development Company.
The Museum is continuing to relocate collections to its new Collections Discovery Centre, offering increased opportunities for visitors to see behind the scenes, access collections and undertake research. Its venue hire business continues to grow and develop, with a number of concerts, conferences, lecturers and weddings already booked over the next two years.
Elizabeth Selby says “I am thrilled to take on the role of Interim Director to lead the Museum on the next stage of its journey following reopening in May 2021. Since joining in 2016, I have grown to love the Museum and its collections and the potential they offer for engagement and learning. There is so much more the Museum can achieve in the future, now we have the incredible facilities created by the project in place. I am excited to lead the wonderful team here, working alongside and in consultation with our local communities, to ensure that the Museum fulfils its full potential and remains a sustainable organisation in the face of the continued challenges presented by Covid-19.”
Jean Lang says “I, like Elizabeth, am thrilled to be involved as we take the Museum forward after its wonderful re-emergence. I have been a member of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for over 30 years and to be working with Elizabeth, the staff and Trustees at this time is very exciting. We have wonderful permanent exhibitions and the opportunity for regular changing ones. We have challenges ahead as we move from a capital project to re-establishing ourselves both as a Museum for everyone and a centre for research and curated collections but with Elizabeth at the helm and the support of our many members and friends I am sure we will achieve this.”