Thomas Campbell’s Next Move After the Met? Heading to a 19th-Century Castle to Ponder the Digital Future

The former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been awarded the Getty Rothschild Fellowship.

Thomas P. Campbell, image courtesy of the Getty.
Thomas P. Campbell, image courtesy of the Getty.

Thomas Campbell, who very recently stepped down as director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has not been idle for long. He is the beneficiary of an illustrious research award, the Getty Rothschild Fellowship, which will take him around the world.

Started in 2016, the fellowship was administered by the Getty Trust to support scholars while they pursue research in their respective fields. Campbell will be spending eight months split between the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England, receiving a stipend during his stay at both locations.

Aerial view of the Waddesdon Manor, courtesy of wikimedia commons.

Although Campbell’s background is in European tapestries, no mention is made of a project delving into Waddesdon Manor’s world-class tapestries from the royal Gobelins and Beauvais workshops in France—though that is probably a bonus.

Instead, the announcement emphasizes his background in expanding the Met’s audience, listing his success in “reimagining the visitor experience both in the galleries and via an industry-leading digital presence” during his tenure.

“I am honored to be named a Getty/Rothschild fellow and to be given the opportunity to devote the coming year to examine, first, the fundamental question of where the cultural sector is heading as it responds to various geo-political, economic and digital challenges,” Campbell says in a statement. “And second, the related question of how we can use art and culture as a gateway to promote understanding in an ever-more connected but ever-more divided world.”

And what better place to ponder accessibility than in a Manor built in the Neo-Renaissance style of the châteaus in France’s Loire Valley, complete with features modeled after the interiors of Versailles, and elaborate gardens across the grounds? The estate includes an aviary that is home to many species at risk of extinction, including the Palawan peacock-pheasant and the Rothschild’s mynah.

While in England, Campbell will reside in the Flint House, centrally located on the Waddesdon Estate. The wedge-shaped building is covered with lumps of flint stone mirroring the chalk and flint-rich soil of the environment. The house was designed by Charlotte Skene Catling and awarded the RIBA UK House of the Year in 2015.

The Flint House on the Waddesdon Manor estate, image courtesy of wikimedia commons.

The Flint House on the Waddesdon Manor estate, image courtesy of wikimedia commons.


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