Gus Casely-Hayford, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, will leave Washington to lead the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new East London location, the institution announced on Friday. He’ll join the museum in the spring.
Mr. Casely-Hayford, a prominent British author, curator and broadcaster on African history and culture, joined the Smithsonian in February 2018. He has sat on the boards of numerous art institutions, and consulted for the Tate Britain Council and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also worked as a TV presenter on BBC Two’s “The Culture Show,” BBC Four’s “Lost Kingdoms of Africa” and Sky Arts’s “Tate Britain’s Great British Walks.”
As the inaugural director, Mr. Casely-Hayford will be responsible for the creative strategy and programming at the outpost, known as V&A East, a five-story museum and research facility under construction in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The museum will be the site of a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, while the research center, Here East, will amass a collection of the museum’s objects, books and archives to create an innovative visitor experience. Both sites are expected to open in 2023 at East Bank, a development at the Olympic Park — a waterfront site where London hosted the 2012 Summer Games.
“We are going to craft dynamic and compelling ways for our audiences to get close to the extraordinary, to be transported across time and geography by the most beautiful and intriguing things,” Mr. Casely-Hayford said in a statement. “We want to give you the tools to tell and retell your own stories through objects that move you — and to change the way that we think about ourselves and the world.”
The development at Olympic Park will also house the University of the Arts London’s college of fashion, a new venue for the Sadler’s Wells theater and new studios for the BBC.