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Neil MacGregor

Before moving to the British Museum, Neil MacGregor was Director at the National Gallery (1987 – 2002).

Neil MacGregor was born in Scotland in 1946. After studying French and German at New College, Oxford, and philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, MacGregor took an LLB in Law at the University of Edinburgh and was called to the Scottish bar.

However, he decided instead to study art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. He later developed an academic career at the Courtauld and at the University of Reading.

Between 1981 and 1986, MacGregor served as the editor of 'The Burlington Magazine'. He was then appointed Director of the National Gallery in January 1987 and he remained in this position for 15 years until June 2002. MacGregor was appointed Director of the British Museum in August 2002.

During his time at the National Gallery, MacGregor raised the profile of the organisation by hosting the popular BBC television series 'Making Masterpieces' and 'Seeing Salvation'. He also oversaw the opening of the Sainsbury Wing, the refurbishment of the galleries and a complete re-hang of the collection.