AFTER 19 years, three presidents, three capital appeals, a major upgrade and expansion and a significant growth in visitor numbers during his tenure, Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) CEO Norman Seligman is stepping down.
Seligman will vacate his post in the second half of 2021 to take up a new role managing and growing the recently formed SJM Foundation.
“It has been an immense privilege to lead this fantastic museum and its amazing people,” he said.
“The journey I have undertaken with a succession of dedicated and supportive presidents, board members, staff and volunteers to transform the Sydney Jewish Museum into a dynamic organisation, with an outstanding team of professionals running world class programs, exhibitions and events, has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”
Seligman noted that while he head enjoyed an interesting and varied business career prior to joining the museum, which included eight years in Paris, “nothing compared to the privilege of meeting and working with an amazing group of Holocaust survivors and all the loyal museum volunteers and staff.”
He added, “The exposure that I gained to the Sydney Jewish Community and wider community including politicians, academics and business leaders has also been priceless.
“I have also enjoyed a close working relationship with three museum presidents; John Roth, John Landerer and Professor Gus Lehrer.”
Seligman’s time at the helm saw a complete rebuilding of its exhibition spaces, major upgrades to a number of exhibitions and the introduction of new collections, the conception of a new Education and Resource Centre and a growth in annual student visitor numbers from 8000 in 2002 to nearly 30,000 in 2019, among other achievements.
“During Norman’s term of office, the museum has become widely seen as a world-class museum of the Holocaust and Human Rights. His ability to handle all the various aspects of the museum, from financial to caring for Holocaust survivors, is quite remarkable,” president Gus Lehrer said.
“The success of the capital appeals and donor support, most recently the Pillars of the Museum initiative, is testament to the high esteem in which the museum is held within the community, which is due in no small measure to Norman’s stewardship.”
Noting that the board looks forward to maintaining a close relationship with Seligman, Lehrer said, “While it will be difficult to find a successor for such a dedicated and accomplished leader, the dynamic state in which Norman leaves the museum, together with its prestige in the community … will make the task more manageable.”