Morris leaves as Jewish Museum steps back from ACE

Abigail Morris is standing down as director and CEO of the Jewish Museum, as it announces it will leave the Arts Council national portfolio of funded organisations.

Morris, previously artistic director of Soho Theatre, took up her post in 2012, two years after a £10m remake, and has seen visitor numbers rise steadily in response to eye-catching exhibitions such as Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait in 2017, and this year Charlotte Salomon.

As well as her departure the museum in Camden, North London, is announcing its withdrawal from the Arts Council’s funding portfolio as it reviews its business model and plan for a new direction.

Trust chairman Lord Young said Morris’s decision to go was “an opportunity to plan for the future and ensure the museum is able to continue its important mission to combat antisemitism through exhibitions, events and education”. He said ACE would continue to support the museum as it reviews its model and organisational structure.

“We have agreed to the request from the Jewish Museum London to leave the national portfolio” said Joyce Wilson, ACE’s London area director. “We will continue to fund the organisation at the same level of investment while it takes time to review its business model. We are also awarding additional funding to support planning for the museum’s future and the care and preservation of its nationally outstanding collection.

“We have agreed this exceptional course of action because of the organisation’s strategic significance nationally and its important work with the museum sector, local people and the wider Jewish community.”

Abigail Morris said she was proud of what the museum had achieved. “We have transformed the museum and have become recognised for our outstanding, award-winning exhibitions and education programmes” she said. “In turn, not only have our visitor numbers rocketed, we have brought in new, younger and more diverse audiences, many of whom had no previous contact with Jewish life.”


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