Thomas P. Campbell

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For other people named Thomas Campbell, see Thomas Campbell (disambiguation).

Thomas P. Campbell, PhD (born 1962), is the ninth director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere. After fourteen years as a curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, specialising in tapestries, he was elected Director and CEO on 9 September 2008.[1][2][3] It was announced on February 28th, 2017 that Campbell will be stepping down as the Met's director and CEO, effective June.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Singapore and raised in Cambridge, England, where he attended The Perse School, Campbell received his BA in English language and literature at New College, Oxford in 1984,[5] followed by a Diploma from Christie's Fine and Decorative Arts course, London, in 1985. While studying for his master's degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1987), he discovered the extent to which mainstream art history had overlooked the major role that the tapestry medium played in European art and propaganda. During the following years, he worked to rectify this by creating the Franses Tapestry Archive in London (1987–94), which, with more than 120,000 images, is the largest and most up-to-date information resource on European tapestries and figurative textiles in the world.[6] His early research culminated in several groundbreaking research articles and a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (1999) on the art and culture of King Henry VIII's court.


Campbell had worked in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts for fourteen years, rising steadily through the curatorial ranks as Assistant Curator (1995–97), Associate Curator (1997–2003), and Curator (2003 to December 2008). During this time, he conceived and organised the major exhibitions Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (New York, 2007; Palacio Real, Madrid, spring 2008), both of which incorporated drawings, paintings, and prints, as well as tapestries, and received widespread acclaim. The 2002 exhibition was named "Exhibition of the Year" by Apollo magazine and its catalogue won the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award (College Art Association) for distinguished exhibition catalogue in the history of art (2003)[7] Since shortly after his arrival at the Museum, he also served as Supervising Curator of The Antonio Ratti Textile Center, which houses the Museum's encyclopaedic collection of 36,000 textiles and is one of the preeminent centres of textile studies in the world.[8]

Campbell has pursued an agenda for the Met that focuses on both scholarship and accessibility. These priorities maintain the museum's focus on exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and permanent collections, while encouraging new thinking about the visitor experience. Further initiatives have included exploring the judicious use of technology in the Museum and fully integrating education into all the Met's activities.

The fiscal year 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012 saw the Met's highest attendance in 40 years, rising to 6.28 million.[9] During that year the Museum also opened extensive new galleries for both its Islamic and American art and launched a redesigned website that now attracts more than 44 million visits per year. The Museum is currently working on plans to renovate The Costume Institute and a project to redesign the Museum's Fifth Avenue plaza and fountains.[10] Also on the horizon is a collaboration with the Whitney Museum in which the Met will program its landmark Breuer Building on Madison Avenue and 75th Street starting in 2015.[11] According to the 2014 IRS form 990 filed by the Met, Thomas Campbell was compensated $950,762 "from the organization" with an additional $344,604 "in estimated amounts of other compensation from the organization and related organizations."[12]

Campbell has lectured and taught extensively on European court patronage and the relation of tapestries to the other arts, both to scholars and the general public, at institutions and museums in the United States and abroad. He has also published extensively on the subject of historic European textiles and their relationship to other art forms of their periods. He authored the book Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court (Yale University Press, 2007) and his articles have appeared in leading scholarly journals such as Burlington Magazine, Apollo Magazine, Studies in the Decorative Arts, and Gazette des Beaux-Arts. He has been the recipient of awards and fellowships, including the Iris Foundation Award (Bard Graduate Center) for a scholar in mid-career deserving of recognition for outstanding contributions to the study of the decorative arts (2003).[13]

Personal life[edit]

Campbell is married and lives in New York City. He and his wife Phoebe have a son and daughter.[14]


  1. ^ Miriam Kreinin Souccar (10 September 2008). "New Met Director has Lots of Company". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  2. ^ Kelly Crow (10 September 2008). "Met Selects Curator to Run Museum". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  3. ^ "Times Topics: Thomas P. Campbell". New York Times. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Met Museum's Director Resigns Under Pressure". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "North American Reunion". New College, Oxford. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Curator at Met Named Director of the Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award". College Art Association. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Introduction to Antonio Ratti Textile Center". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Metropolitan Museum of Art Draws Record Number of Visitors". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Plaza Renovation Project". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Vogel, Carol. "Met Plans to Occupy the Whitney's Uptown Site". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Form 990" (PDF). 
  13. ^ "Iris Foundation Award Recipients" (PDF). Bard Graduate Center. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Murg, Stephanie. "Thomas Campbell Named Next Director of Metropolitan Museum of Art". Media Bistro. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Philippe de Montebello
Metropolitam Museum of Art by Simon Fieldhouse.jpg
Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Succeeded by