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Israel Museum director steps down after four years

Design professor Ido Bruno navigated the coronavirus pandemic and a strategic plan during his tenure

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Ido Bruno, a professor of design at Bezalel, has stepped down as director of the Israel Museum after four years in the position (Courtesy Eli Pozner)
Ido Bruno, a professor of design at Bezalel, has stepped down as director of the Israel Museum after four years in the position (Courtesy Eli Pozner)

Israel Museum director Ido Bruno has announced he will be stepping down after four years in the position. His replacement has not yet been selected.

During Bruno’s tenure, which followed a protracted search for a director, the museum embarked on a strategic plan for its long-term goals.

Bruno also helped navigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, when the museum was closed for months at a time and had to furlough its staff.

“This past year was one of the most difficult in the Museum’s history due to COVID-19,” said Bruno in a statement. “Nevertheless, we did not lay off a single employee and succeeded in balancing the museum’s budget for 2020 and for the following year.”

Bruno noted that the museum, the most important cultural institution in Israel and among the world’s leading museums, has been able to return to full operations as the COVID-19 crisis has ebbed in Israel.

Bruno said it had been his great privilege to run the museum, enhancing the stature of Israeli art while nurturing the museum’s potential for interdisciplinary research and exhibitions.

An industrial designer and professor at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Bruno took classes in the museum’s Youth Wing as a child. He also worked at the museum as an exhibition designer and curator, and was responsible for the placement of sculptures throughout the museum and the Art Garden.

He succeeded James Snyder, a dapper New York City museum professional who held the role for two decades and was revered for his fundraising prowess.

Bruno told Artnet magazine in 2018 that he thought of his hiring by the museum as an experiment.

Bruno initially declined the offer. He told Artnet that the search committee chair, Yitzhak Molcho, known for his close relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Bruno that the museum was at a crossroads and thought it needed a person more like him.

It was “a very tempting proposal to put in front of someone like me. I’m a dreamer. I like challenges, and also, there’s this sense of responsibility,” he told Artnet.

In the statement, Molcho expressed his deep gratitude to Bruno for his leadership, adding that the museum’s board of directors requested that Bruno continue to work with the board in the coming months in order to crystalize the strategic plan that he spearheaded, and to help with a seamless transition for future leadership.

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