A reward for real merit

A reward for real merit


norman lebrecht

November 05, 2010

I have just been told that the Queen has honoured Neil MacGregor with the Order of Merit, the highest honour in her gift. Neil, director of the British Museum since 2002 and, before that, head of the National Gallery, had previously turned down a knighthood, which is a political gift.

In eight years, he has turned around the BM from the nation’s aunt sally to the busiest museum or earth, with a higher footfall than the Louvre and more public awareness than the Met. Some 10 million people have downloaded his History of the World in 100 Objects from the BBC.
Seldom in my experience has the order been more richly merited. Arise Mr MacGregor, OM.


  • incy wincy says:

    I found 100 objects interesting but couldn’t help feel it was like some right wing fantasy about what the BBC should be – plummy establishment figure gives slightly po-faced lecture on inanimate object. Eat Your Greens Reithism.
    What about a History of the Establishment in 100 baubles ?