Trustees & Administration
Gail Bromley, MBE (Chairman) spent many years at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, latterly as Head of Community Engagement and Volunteering. She master-minded the engagement section of the HLF bid for the repair and renovation of the Temperate House and is a Director of BGEN. She is currently working to support two major EU projects across 15 countries, and is also the Chief Education Officer for Historic Houses Association. She is passionate about sustainability, education and enabling access to heritage for all audiences.
Simon Tait is the co-Editor of the on-line magazine Arts Industry, and a freelance journalist, writer and editor, contributing to all major newspapers and magazines.
David Bromley is currently acting Honorary Administrator.
It is hard to imagine now, but in the late 1960s many museums and galleries were not the family-friendly, inspirational and welcoming places they are today. County councils were struggling to house people let alone art collections – industry was more inclined to sponsor sport than the arts – many exhibits were locked away in glass cases often too high for children to see, labelling was poor, exhibits were dusty and badly displayed, with many works of art being left to rot in dilapidated buildings.
John Letts who co-owned the Folio Society, was appalled how our heritage was being neglected. So he, and an army of like-minded people, formed National Heritage – the Museums Action Movement in 1971. They worked tirelessly to achieve their aim to make museums and galleries more accessible to users and visitors, and to encourage industry to sponsor the arts as it had done in the previous century.
National Heritage quickly realised that an annual prize should be awarded and in 1973 the Museum of the Year was created, with The Illustrated London News as sponsor. The top museum receiving a cheque and the trophy, Moon Head, the sculpture by Henry Moore. Latterly the trophy was Elisabeth Frink’s Easter Head.
By 2003 there were a number of museum prizes and it was agreed at a meeting at the Museum of London that one prize should be awarded. James Bishop and Simon Tait were trustees, and the Gulbenkian Prize of £100,000 was created. It has now evolved into the Arts Fund Museum of the Year Prize. Complete list of Museum of the Year Award winners 1973-present.
About Our Founders
John Letts had the happy knack of attracting the best minds in the business to National Heritage. Here are tributes to just some of those who forged the charity’s beginnings.