Suzanne Muchnic has an excellent story about the Israel Museum and its plans for the future in the Los Angeles Times. She interviews James S. Snyder, the American director who was hired from MoMA in New York after 22 years there. He began his tenure in 1996:
Snyder has a lot to brag about. The museum has an annual operating budget of about $25 million and is well past the halfway point in a campaign to increase its endowment to $150 million from $75 million. Membership numbers a mere 8,000, but there are support groups in 14 countries, and 455,373 visitors came last year, when most of the facility was closed for construction.
The nattily attired director, who speaks in bursts of earnest enthusiasm, sometimes says the massive renewal project isn’t about architecture or getting bigger. What he means is that the museum had no need for splashy architecture or expanding for the sake of expansion. The goal was to clarify a vast swath of cultural history in a powerful, elegantly low-key setting.
“We needed a transformative change that would allow the richness of the collection to shine,” he says. “The Israel Museum used to be described as many museums under one roof. Now it has been recast as a continuum — of history and culture, of region set into the world, of today set into the past. All things are connected in material culture and time. We are universal in our collecting, and we want to underscore this notion of how objects across time and place can resonate with one another.”
The Israel Museum: One for the Ages (Los Angeles Times)