Esme Ward

Esme Ward, Director, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester (UK)

Esme Ward is Director of Manchester Museum, at the University of Manchester, the first woman to hold this position in the Museum’s 125-year history.  Over the last 5 years, Esme has led a transformative capital project, hello future, completed in February 2023, with a commitment to lead the most inclusive, imaginative, and caring museum you might visit. 

Esme has worked in university museums for over 20 years; previously she was Head of Learning and Engagement across both the Whitworth and Manchester Museum, embedding award-winning health and culture, early years, and age friendly work. Her career has been driven by learning and social purpose with a longstanding commitment to make museums more inclusive and relevant to a wider audience.  

Esme is Honorary Professor of Heritage Futures at the University of Manchester; She is Co-Chair of the University Museums Group and  sits on the National Museum’s Directors’ Executive Council representing university museums; She is Environmental Sustainability Lead for Manchester Cultural Leaders Group.