Hundreds of hopefuls applied for the jobs through an advert in The Economist, as part of a global search for culture experts who will be tasked with taking control of museum budgets and coming up with innovative ways to bring in cash.
In addition to the Uffizi and Borghese galleries, the 20 museums set for new bosses include the National Museum of Bargello in Florence, the Venice Academy (Galleria dell'Accademia) and the National Archaeology Museum in Naples.
Picking the new museum managers is due to take until May, after which the newcomers will have no small task on their hands. Under cultural reforms museum directors are due to get greater control over their budgets, while the government is also pushing for the creation of more private-public partnerships.
Diversifying cash flows will also mean winning philanthropic funds, encouraged through new tax breaks and the chance for wealthy donors to have their names on a piece of heritage. Crowdfunding is also on the agenda, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said on Sunday.
“I hope bringing important figures into these roles changes [museums]. But this is only one piece of the reform,” he told Corriere della Sera.
Franceschini also addressed allegations that culture jobs in Italy are dominated by the privileged elite. “It’s a problem for the whole of Italy. Young people and outsiders struggle to assert themselves. But having a 40-year-old prime minister will help do it [change the system] in this sector. Politics is moving forward,” the minister said.
The task of rejecting 1,202 of the museum manager applications has been passed to a panel of world-renowned art directors, led by Paolo Baratta who serves as president of the Venice Biennale. the director of London's National Gallery, Nicholas Penny, is also on the hiring committee along with Luca Giuliani, rector of the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin.
Lorenzo Casini, a professor at Rome's Sapienza University and expert in cultural heritage legislation, completes the team along with Claudia Ferrazzi, whose posts include being the vice administrator general at the Louvre in Paris.