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York Museums Trust announces move of CEO Reyahn King to a new post at National Trust for Scotland


York Museums Trust are today (24 February) announcing that Reyahn King will step down as Chief Executive Officer in summer to take up the position of Director of Heritage Properties at the National Trust for Scotland.

Reyahn King joined York Museums Trust in September 2015, taking over the leadership of the independent charity which cares for the city of York’s collections and operates York Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum, York Museum Gardens, York Art Gallery and York St Marys. As Chief Executive Officer, Reyahn has brought York Museums Trust through one of the toughest periods in York Museums Trust’s history, during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During her seven-year tenure, Reyahn has achieved great change for York Museums Trust. Under her leadership she introduced a new vision and mission that puts audiences and communities at the heart of York Museums Trust’s work, while also strengthening the charity’s fundraising activity and generating increased revenue from commercial activities.

York Art Gallery has become the place to go to for high quality public exhibitions including Grayson Perry: the Pre-Therapy Years and the award-winning Kaiser Chiefs exhibition, as well as championing experimentation in world class art in York with exhibitions such as Strata- Rock- Dust- Stars.

Alongside a step change in the public programme, Reyahn also oversaw the opening of two hugely successful new permanent galleries: Jurassic Yorkshire at the Yorkshire Museum and Shaping the Body at York Castle Museum.

Reyahn King will have a lasting legacy on York Museums Trust, having overseen the acquisition of the St Marys Abbey 13th century Limoges Figure of Christ and the Ryedale Roman Bronzes which go on display at the Yorkshire Museum in April 2022. She also worked with City of York Council, stakeholders and the public to develop a compelling vision for York Castle Museum.

Reyahn has been a leading figure within the museum sector championing inclusion, diversity and equality. She has consistently championed the inclusion of diverse and underrepresented artists within the public programme, with exhibitions such as Sounds Like Her and The Sea is the Limit and has led a significant internal inclusion, diversity and anti-racism culture change programme at  York Museums Trust.

Alongside success at York Museums Trust, as Chair of York Cultural Leaders Group Reyahn led the development of York’s Culture Strategy which sets out to create a more collaborative, higher-profile, cultural city which truly benefits residents.

Reyahn King said: “It has been a joy and a privilege to lead the amazing staff at York Museums Trust and to be part of York’s cultural scene. I am thrilled to be joining National Trust for Scotland at a time when NTS is doing such important work for Scottish culture, heritage and nature.”

James Grierson, York Museums Trust Chair, said: “Reyahn has been a wonderful Chief Executive, modernising the organisation and culture of York Museums Trust, bringing in some great new talents, enriching our collections and staging some important and inspiring exhibitions. She led the leadership team’s highly professional response to the enormous challenges of the last couple of years and, notwithstanding the shadow the pandemic has caused, leaves the Trust in good heart. The richness of experience she has had in York will, I am sure, be put to very effective use with the National Trust for Scotland and, whilst my fellow trustees and I will be sorry to lose her, Reyahn leaves behind a significant legacy, and one of the most exciting jobs in the sector, and I’m confident that her successor will be very well-placed to take York Museums Trust on the next stage of its journey.”

Phil Long OBE, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said: “The National Trust for Scotland’s portfolio of properties is the foundation of all that we do. Caring for them also means caring for the stories of Scotland, and enabling everybody to find out about and be inspired by our shared heritage. That’s why Reyahn’s appointment is so important for the Trust and, given her track record of success with York Museums Trust and other organisations, we are delighted that she will be joining us to bring to the Trust her experience and insight.”

Recruitment for Reyahn King’s successor will begin in Spring, with Reyahn taking up her new position in Summer.