Jonathan Morton has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.
Currently Head of Business and Operations at Tate St Ives, Jonathan has an impressive track record of significantly increasing visitor numbers and revenue for a variety of big-name organisations.
His early career began at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham city centre where, as Senior Operations Manager, he was responsible for the day to day running of a very successful tourist attraction that welcomed more than 300,000 visitors each year. During his subsequent five years as Front of House Manager at the Bullring in Birmingham, he was responsible for all aspects of customer service, security and retail liaison and helped launch a brand new shopping complex that had a daily footfall of around 250,000 people.
Before moving to Cornwall, Jonathan worked for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. The sustainable operating model he instigated there saw visitor numbers rise to more than 400,000 per year and admissions income to £3m. It also resulted in a £1m retail development project which increased annual turnover from £1m to £1.4m and saw a return on investment within three years.
During his seven years at Tate St Ives, Jonathan has shaped new teams and delivered an ambitious capital programme that has achieved a 30% increase in admissions’ income and attracted over 300,000 visitors a year. Now he is looking forward to taking on the challenge of turning the Royal Cornwall Museum into one of Cornwall’s top ten places to visit.
“I’m very excited about my new role,” he says. “The museum is a treasure trove of Cornish heritage and it’s important that it should feel accessible and open to everyone, whatever their age or background. The past is a source of inspiration for the future but, to appeal to as many people as possible, the visitor experience needs to be fun and enjoyable.
“My task will be to consult with stakeholders, listen to their views and build partnerships that will help us take the museum forward as an attraction and resource that instils local and wider community pride. The education programme has always been extremely popular, so we’ll be looking at ways of developing that, whilst also exploring outreach opportunities. There is huge potential for growth and enhancement and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Chair of Trustees Julie Seyler said she and her board colleagues were delighted with Jonathan’s appointment.
“He is a highly skilled cultural sector leader who has 25 years’ experience of working in frontline roles, managing teams and achieving high levels of success,” she said. “He is passionate about creating stimulating, informative and rewarding customer experiences and his knowledge and abilities will help shape and build the Royal Institution of Cornwall’s vision and future programme. His first task will be to work with me and my fellow board members on finding the professional support we need to look after the collections during our current closure period, whilst also beginning work on development and engagement planning.”
Due to essential major roof repairs, the museum closed in January and will re-open in the autumn.
Jonathan Morton will be taking up his post on 18 March.