A German art historian was named Tuesday as the next director of the British Museum, becoming the first foreigner to head the prestigious London institution in 150 years. Hartwig Fischer, 53, who is currently director general of the Dresden State Art Collections in eastern Germany, will take up the post in the first half of 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed the appointment ahead of incumbent Neil MacGregor’s retirement in December, the museum said.–AFP

MacGregor, who has been in charge since 2002, is to work on part-time projects, including a major new cultural project in Berlin.–AFP

Fischer will become the 20th head of the British Museum since it was founded in 1756 and the first director originating from abroad since Italian-born Antonio Panizzi, who held the post between 1856 and 1866. The museum is Britain’s most visited attraction, welcoming almost 6.7 million people in 2014.