A threat to the Petrie Mueseum!

Pulled from a great FB group I’m in: https://www.facebook.com/groups/109373389318


This serious threat needs to be averted. The issue is perfectly encapsulated below by Jan Picton​​ (sorry about the awkward line-breaks - I’m having to post this via my phone while on the move):

Dear Colleagues

Some of you will already have heard from Petrie Museum and/or
other UCL colleagues but we wanted to bring the issue to a
wider audience, and to an audience that understand the vital
importance of the Petrie Museum to the Egyptological world.

A significant staff restructure proposed by UCL Culture’s
Senior Management Team (SMT) will have a significant impact
on the long-term future of the Petrie Museum.

Amongst many changes, the Senior Management Team propose to
make 8 redundancies across the three museums run by the
Department, which includes FIVE Museum/collections-based staff.
Job descriptions have been rewritten for those whose jobs
are intact, but the bottom line is that there would be a
drastic reduction in experienced, qualified staff to run
the museums. The redundancy of museum staff, some of whom
have worked with the collections for over 15 years, means
that the loss of collections expertise will have a major

Let me make that clear. The Petrie Museum currently has a
Museum Manager (redundant, the post to be centralised to
cover all three museums), an experienced Visitor Service
Officer with an unparalleled 20 years of experience at
the museum (redundant, to be replaced by a central pool
of front of house staff). A Public Engagement Officer
(moved to central shared services), a part-time museum
assistant (moving to central shared services across the

In addition we will lose the Senior Conservator (redundant
and not replaced), leaving only one member of (non-specialist)
conservation staff working across all four collections. If
this restructure goes ahead, there will be no qualified
conservator for archaeological material across the whole
Department and so the Petrie Museum collection is being
placed in significant risk. As our Collections Assistants
will also be centralised, this will put museum loans and
particularly research availability at severe risk.

The role of curator - currently filled by Dr Anna Garnett -
appears to be safe and we are told she will remain based in
the museum. However, no-one has explained how she is supposed
to fill her own role without the support of an in-house manager
and museum assistant, and with only non-specialist front of
house staff on a rotational basis is anyone’s guess. She has
been told that she will have more personal research time -
this would seem to be an impossibility if she is covering
gaps left in the museum by the proposed restructure.

Those of you who have worked at or with the Petrie Museum in
your respective research and teaching capacities, or as
museum curators for whom we have arranged loans or other
facilities, or people who simply value the museum, will
know just how hard a limited staff work to offer you support
in your teaching, research, museum visits, and exhibition
loans. Under the proposed new restructure, it is apparent
that the only permanent full-time member of staff in the
Museums will be the Curator, thus our capacity to host
classes, and to facilitate loans, research visits and tours
will be significantly impacted.

We are currently in the consultation phase of the proposed
restructure, and we have until 5pm GMT on March 13th when
consultation closes to submit our written comments and
suggestions. Prof. Joe Cain (UCL) has usefully created a
WordPress site which includes the formal documentation
relating to the restructure, which may be of interest:

The proposals will fundamentally change the museum’s role
as we know it.

This proposal fails to recognise the global importance of the
collection as one of the most important collections of Egyptian
material outside Egypt as demonstrated by the number of
international visits we get from researchers. The museum’s
Art Council Designation as a collection of national and
international significance has been totally ignored in this
plan. The Petrie Museum will effectively cease to be a
centre of research excellence despite UCL’s claim to be
one of the top universities in the world – ‘London’s Global

We want everyone involved in the world of Egyptology to be
aware of these proposed changes. If you feel that they will
impact on your own work, or would like to write in defence
of our amazing museum, please consider writing to the Provost
of UCL, Professor Michael Arthur, (michael.arthur@ucl.ac.uk),
copying your reply to the Director of UCL Culture, Simon Cane
(simon.cane@ucl.ac.ukmailto:simon.cane@ucl.ac.uk) and please
also copy Prof. Joe Cain into your email
(j.cain@ucl.ac.ukmailto:j.cain@ucl.ac.uk) which he will then
add to the book of submissions he will be providing to UCL

I would be more than happy to answer any queries, or to provide
any further information, or relevant contacts. Our wonderful
staff in the Petrie Museum are fighting this proposal as a
team not as individuals, and we are being supported by
colleagues in UCL and in the wider community. Your support
would be appreciated.

With best wishes and many thanks for your support,

Jan Picton


1 Like

I had some replies back from them. There has of course been a lot of responses and they assured me that they don’t intend to close Petrie. Lets see how this goes.