Key Points:

A Canadian woman is the new director of at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Dr Vanda Vitali, from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California, replaces Rodney Wilson who retires at the end of September, the museum announced today.

Dr Vitali was vice president of public programmes and director of content development in Los Angeles, said Auckland Museum Trust Board chairman David Hill.

He said the appointment was exciting news for the museum and dR Vitali's work was renowned for encouraging public engagement.

"She is strongly motivated to make museums accessible to a wider audience and is a firm believer that museums should inspire more and teach less."

Before taking on her role at Los Angeles, Dr Vitali was at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. She worked closely with collections and artefacts from native American, pre-Columbian and Pacific cultures.

She also spent 13 years as a consultant on heritage and culture-based policies and practices in America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Dr Wilson would retire after 13 years, said Mr Hill.