ashmolean
Christopher Brown 2013 by Stairs

Freedom of the City for Director, Professor Christopher Brown

Professor Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, will be awarded the Freedom of the City of Oxford, to mark his retirement later this year.

The new Lord Mayor of Oxford will present him with the ceremonial scroll at a ceremony that will be held in the Town Hall in early July.

Only a small number of people have received this honour, including Sir Roger Bannister, the late Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, author Colin Dexter and Philip Pullman, author of the trilogy, His Dark Materials. The City of Leiden, City District of Bonn, the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University have also been awarded with the honour. Oxfam was the last organisation to receive the Freedom of the City.

Professor Christopher Brown will retire from his post as Director of the Ashmolean on 30 September 2014 after serving in that position for sixteen years.

The Freedom of the City of Oxford is awarded under two categories - persons of distinction or persons who have, in the opinion of the council, rendered eminent services to the city.

Professor Brown said: "I am absolutely thrilled to be honoured in this way by the City of Oxford. My intention from the very beginning was to open up the Museum to a much broader public, particularly to the people of the City of Oxford and the County of Oxfordshire. The results of our redevelopment have exceeded all my expectations. It is a huge honour to be awarded the Freedom of the City on behalf of the Museum and colleagues who have worked on the transformation of the Ashmolean."

Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: "Councillors were unanimous in agreeing that the Freedom would be a perfect way of acknowledging the debt of gratitude that the people of Oxford have to Christopher. Under his leadership, the Museum has not only been transformed physically, but it has opened itself out to the city and the wider world, through a major schools programme, and events such as Friday Night Live and the Christmas Light Festival. The transformation of the Museum, the programme of high profile special exhibitions, and the welcome that it now offers to everyone is a huge legacy that will be marked by this singular honour."

10-Apr-2014

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