Journalist and former MP appointed Chair of regional museum group

Journalist, author and former Member of Parliament, Chris Mullin has been appointed as the new Chair of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ Strategic Board – the organisation that manages nine of the region’s most popular museums and galleries.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) welcomes over 1,000,000 visits a year to its venues including the Great North Museum: Hancock, Discovery Museum, the Laing Art Gallery, Hatton Gallery, Shipley Art Gallery, Segedunum Roman Fort, Stephenson Steam Railway, Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort and South Shields Museum & Art Gallery.

It also manages the Archives Service for Tyne and Wear, cares for over 1 million artefacts safeguarding North East heritage and art and delivers educational programmes to over 90,000 children and young people each year.

Chris Mullin was Member of Parliament representing Sunderland and during his time in the House of Commons he also served as a Minister in three government departments between 1999 and 2005. He was Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the North East of England from 2012 to 2017 and is also a Member of the Northumberland National Park Authority.

Baroness Joyce Quin, current Chair of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums who will step down in September, said: “I am personally very much looking forward to working with Chris – he is a respected figure who will bring Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums excellent networks both in the region and nationally and provide great leadership to support the executive team. The recruitment of such a senior figure as chair is also an indication of the very high regard in which Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums is held.”

Chris Mullin, said: ‘I am honoured to have been appointed to chair the board of Tyne &Wear Archives & Museums, which plays such an important role in the cultural life of the region, and I look forward to working with the director Keith Merrin and representatives of the responsible local authorities.” 

Chris will take up the role in September 2023 and lead TWAM at an exciting time with many major projects on the horizon. Upcoming developments include blockbuster exhibitions such as National Treasures: JMW Turner at the Laing Art Gallery in May 2024 – featuring Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire on loan from the National Gallery and capital developments at Discovery Museum, Segedunum Roman Fort and Stephenson Steam Railway.