Neil MacGregor's departure from the British Museum: We’re losing our archbishop of culture

He will be a loss to the museum and a hard act to follow - he has made the British Museum hugely relevant

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The Independent Online

I always think of Neil MacGregor as the archbishop of British culture. He’s all things good, a loving leader of the arts and culture.

His greatest strengths are his communication skills and his ability to put over big issues and work in the global arena but be a jolly, mischievous, twinkly, erudite, charming, amazingly articulate and knowledgeable champion.

It’s not just about the content but why we need to know these things. Neil puts it into an emotionally literate context: why we need to pay attention to big historical issues and culture. He has tweaked what it is to have and run a museum like that.

Working with him was great – he was always incredibly enthusiastic and he is so benign and beloved. He is a great, great man.

He will be a loss to the museum and a hard act to follow. He has made the British Museum hugely relevant.

You see what’s going on with Isis and culture. Repositories such as the British Museum are more important than ever, and in the digital age it is more popular than ever. It has six million visitors a year, and Neil has really championed the museum’s core message.

Grayson Perry is a trustee of the British Museum and in 2011 was curator of its  exhibition Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman