New direction for Spanish archaeology museum

New director, new direction.

The new director of the National Archaeological Museum in Spain, Marina Chinchilla, is a woman with a keen sense of museum diplomacy, having been forced to field persistent questions about her predecessor, Martin Almagro, who was sacked after only a few months in the top job. Despite being held in high regard as an archaeologist and professor at the University Complutense, Madrid, Almagro was fired by the Ministry of Culture, seemingly because he had complained that the museum was in a state of turmoil and lacked sufficient support. Chinchilla, whose previous job was at the Ministry of Culture, has been brought in to rectify the situation but claims that the problems she has inherited are not unique to the Archaeological Museum, but apply to similar institutions all over the world. Museums will always aspire to more funding than can be given by the State, so she wants to concentrate on attracting new visitors rather than sacrificing governmental backing for economic and administrative autonomy like the Prado or the Reina Sofia. Her immediate aim is to bring the museum up-to-date by employing modern, dynamic installations using the 1.2 million objects at her disposal in the permanent collection, only 9,000 of which can be shown at any time. Until now a lack of space has limited the scale of exhibitions and displays, so a restructuring of the interior has been planned, with museum offices moving into new spaces being constructed under the roof.    

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 95 September 1999