National Museum of Scotland Poaches Louvre-Lens Director Xavier Dectot

This is the latest move in the Scottish museum's ambitious overhaul.

The curator and museum director Xavier Dectot.Photo: via France3.
The curator and museum director Xavier Dectot.
Photo: via France3.

The National Museum of Scotland has announced the appointment of Xavier Dectot, current director of the Louvre-Lens Museum in France, as Keeper of Art and Design.

The Edinburgh museum will open 10 new galleries in the summer to display its large collections of decorative art, design, fashion, science, and technology, with Dectot in charge of those devoted to art and design.

The £10 million development of the news galleries follows the ambitious £46 million renovation of the museum’s Victorian galleries, which has welcomed over 6 million visitors since relaunching in 2011.

A render of the science and technology galleries at the National Museum of ScotlandPhoto via: BBC News

A render of the science and technology galleries at the National Museum of Scotland.
Photo via: BBC News.

The appointment of Dectot is yet another move in the museum’s strategic rebranding, which aims to put the Scottish museum on the map as a must-see destination.

“I’m not leaving for political reasons; my decision was made prior to the recent elections,” Dectot, who was appointed as director of the Northern branch of the Louvre Museum in 2011, told Le Figaro. Dectot is referring to the regional reform that has gone into effect January 1 that places the museum in the newly-fused region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, which was nearly won by the right-wing Front National in recent elections.

Instead, he cites a need to gather experience working abroad as his reason to leave the Louvre-Lens after a five-year tenure, where he was tasked with staffing the team and overseeing the installation of the exhibitions prior to its public opening in December 2012.

Le Monde has praised the performance of Dectot at the Louvre-Lens, pointing out that he took an initial team of 2 or 3 staffers and expanded it to up to 80 employees.

The Louvre-Lens museum, designed by the architects SANAA and Imrey CulbertPhoto via: Dezeen

The Louvre-Lens museum, designed by the architects SANAA and Imrey Culbert.
Photo via: Dezeen.

Prior to that, from 2001 to 2011, Dectot was a curator in medieval sculpture and decorative arts at the Cluny Museum in Paris, devoted to art from the Middle Ages, where he was in charge of the collections of sculpture, ivories, and ceramics.

The art of the Middles Ages seems to be the specialty of the French curator, who graduated in 2001 from the École Pratique des Hautes Études with a dissertation on the royal tombs in the Iberian peninsula from the 11th-13th centuries.

Dectot has also served as an adjunct professor at a number of universities, including the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne in Paris.


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