The Ashmolean is structured under 5 departments:
- Public Engagement
Find out more about the different departments and the people behind them below.
Dr Xa Sturgis is the Ashmolean Director
First job: I wound electrical wire onto spools in a small factory in Camden Town.
Interesting fact: I came joint 3rd in the Young Magician of the Year Competition in 1981.
The Ashmolean Operations Department is the Front Line of the Museum. All our Visitor Experience Assistants who you see in our galleries are part of the Operations Department, along with Health, Safety and Security and our Museum Services.
Rachel Davies is the Operations Director
Kingston Myles is Head of Visitor Experience
First job: Working for a pub in the middle of nowhere as a kitchen porter. I lasted about 2 months before I left and went to work for Curry’s where I stayed for nearly 2 years.
Interesting fact: I was once on American ABC nightline news for a teen repellent device while representing my local authority at a British Youth Council event.
The HR team are responsible for providing expert advice, guidance and support to staff members. We are responsible for every aspect of the employee lifecycle with our main areas of responsibility being recruitment and selection, supporting personal and professional development, pay, benefits and reward, legal and compliance, employee engagement and wellbeing and employee relations. We support c. 270 staff members across the museum and work closely with our GLAM partners with HR related activities.
Laureen McHaffie is Head of Human Resources
First job: I washed dishes in a restaurant
Interesting job: I was a 16th century serving wench at Walt Disney World Florida for a year
The Ashmolean Finance team looks after the Museum’s accounts and budgets.
Andrew Noton is Head of Finance
Health, Safety and Security
Mike Finneran is Head of Health, Safety and Security
First job: Stacking shelves at Gateway Supermarket in Stroud whilst studying for my A levels
Interesting fact: As part of a five person Royal Air Force team I took part in a 256 mile cycle ride from Welford, Berkshire to Land’s End completed over 5 days to raise money for the Special Care Baby Unit in Swindon.
The Commercial Department operates a thriving retail, catering, publishing and venue hire business. In addition, the Department manages the Membership programme (Friends & Corporate), licensing portfolio, picture library and photography studio.
The Ashmolean commercial profit is invested back into the museum to support the annual operating costs, to enhance the collections and further the Museum's research.
Lycia Lobo is the Commercial Director
First job: I worked as a sales assistant at Waterstones at weekends
Interesting Fact: I competed internationally for GB in Judo.
Wendy Ball is Head of Events
First Job: I was a Saturday sales assistant at my local newsagent...I earned enough in my first month to buy my parents a bottle of 'Black Tower' wine!
Interesting fact: I climbed Mount Blanc, Chamonix with little more than a pair of crampons, an ice axe, my husband (it was our honeymoon) and a very competent (and patient) mountain guide.
Publications and Licensing
Declan McCarthy is Head of Publishing and Licensing
The Ashmolean has 7 different departments: Antiquities, Eastern Art, Western Art, the Heberden Coin Room and Cast Gallery are all responsible for the administration, scholarship and curatorship of our objects. Conservation and University Engagement work with objects across the different departments to preserve (in the case of conservation) and engage the wider university in using object based learning in their taught courses and assessments.
The Department of Antiquities contains internationally renowned archaeological collections with particular strengths in Prehistoric Europe, the Ancient Near East, Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Minoan Aegean, Mycenaean and Classical Greece, Ancient Cyprus, the Roman world and Medieval and later Europe. We also hold the Museum's Founding Collection and historic archives.
Dr Paul Roberts is the Sackler Keeper of Antiquities
First job: I was a kitchen operative for Ross Frozen Food Services on the M50
Interesting fact: I nearly died in 1987 when contracted Typhoid in Turkey!
The Department of Western Art houses outstanding collections of European fine and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the present day. They include Old Master and later paintings, drawings, watercolours, and prints; English and continental ceramics, sculpture, silver, watches, rings, and musical instruments.
Dr Catherine Whistler is Keeper of Western Art
First job: I worked at weekends as a sales assistant in Dunnes Stores – Ireland’s equivalent to M&S - in Stillorgan shopping centre, Dublin
Interesting fact: I spent an amazing 6 weeks travelling in a Ford transit van with Italian friends around Greece, Turkey and Syria in 1982, camping out and most memorably sleeping under the stars in Palmyra.
The Department of Eastern Art is managed by geographic area with specialist curators for art from the Islamic world, India and Southeast Asia, China and Korea, and Japan. Promoting the collections as an educational resource is a key area of the Department’s activities; the curators teach and supervise students, provide special access to the collections for research purposes and publish their own research.
Dr Mallica Kumbera Landrus is Keeper of Eastern Art
First Job: Photographing, scanning, preparing and labelling 35mm slides for a University Visual Resources Centre.
Interesting Fact: Volunteered at Mother Theresa's orphanage and old peoples home for over six years.
Heberden Coin Room
The Heberden Coin Room is one of the leading international coin cabinets with particular strengths in the fields of Greek, Roman, Celtic, Byzantine, Medieval, Islamic and Chinese coinages. We also hold collections of paper money, tokens, jetons, and commemorative art medals.
Professor Chris Howgego is Keeper of the Heberden Coin Room
First Job: I worked in the Chemistry Research Section of Marconi's Micro-circuit Assembly Techniques Laboratory on the precursors to silicon chips.
Interesting Fact: I was English Schools Sabre Champion, represented England at that level, and captained the Oxford Blues fencing team.
The Ashmolean Cast Gallery is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved collections of casts of Greek and Roman sculpture in the UK, containing some 900 plaster casts of statues, reliefs, and architectural sculptures.
The conservation department is responsible for the care and protection of Ashmolean objects. We have dedicated teams and techniques for the conservation of paper, textiles, objects and paintings. Each conservation project reveals a new side to an object. By using techniques like x-ray, radiography and RTI technology you get a 360 degree view of what lies beneath the surface of some of our most prized objects in our collections.
Daniel Bone is the Head of Conservation
Making pasties for Ron Dewdneys bakery outside Devonport Dockyard. Ron and brother Ivor made the best pasties in Plymouth.
I rode to my wedding on a horse, the first time I’d ever been on one.
The University Engagement Programme (UEP) aims to extend cross-disciplinary teaching and learning through objects and to reach students who would not otherwise learn through art as part of their courses.
Dr Giovanna Vitelli is Director of the University Engagement Programme
First job: I taught small children how to sail dinghies and tie nautical knots.
Interesting Fact: I was the first ever woman student to walk in the door of Magdalen College.
The Development team encourages and enables philanthropy to the Ashmolean. They work with public funders, trusts and foundations, private donors and our Friends, Patrons, visitors and legators to support the Museum’s short and long term plans, from putting on exhibitions and offering free lectures and events, to conserving and digitising our collections to offer global access to them. Their current top priority is to build a robust sustainable endowment: “The Ashmolean Fund” for the long term benefit of the Museum and its visitors.
Francesca Hewitt is Head of Development
First job: I worked for a catering company: waitressing, preparing food and counting out hundreds of forks, knives and plates!
Interesting Fact: I love scuba diving.
The Public Engagement Department is responsible for our print and digital communications, press, design, our public events, our exhibitions teams and registrars as well as our educational programme and access.
Susan McCormack is Director of Public Engagement
First job: From 13, I worked part time as a veterinary nurse.
Interesting fact: I first came to Oxford at the end of a year and a half backpacking round the world, after I'd finished university.
Jo Rice is Head of Education
First Job: I worked on the tills at Leos Superstore in Barnsley.
Interesting fact: I competed at Womens Henley Regatta.
Graeme Campbell is Head of Design
Aisha Burtenshaw is Senior Registrar and Head of Touring Exhibitions
First job: cutting net curtains in a drapery store in Oxford city centre.
Interesting fact: I once acted in a play alongside Colin Firth and Minnie Driver in the Oxford Playhouse theatre.