NEW YORK, NY.-
Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York
, will retire in December 2015, announced James G. Dinan, the Chairman of the Museums Board. Ms. Jones has been the director of the Museum since February 2003. She has presided over a $97 million expansion and renovation of the 83-year-old landmark building located on Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street, and a mission-driven institutional transformation seen in the breadth of changing exhibitions; public programs; school programs via the newly created Frederick A. O. Schwarz Childrens Center; in collection management; and in financial growth.
Susan has been the guiding force behind the City Museums growth for more than a decade, said Mr. Dinan. Her energy and intelligence have helped us remake the institution into a popular and respected cultural attraction in New York City for people of all ages and backgrounds in all five boroughs and for visitors from around the world.
Mr. Dinan is forming a search committee, composed of Board Members, to find the City Museums next director.
This position has been the dream of my lifetime, said Ms. Jones. I will sorely miss our staff and the trusteesall the people who have worked together to plan and execute the Museums advancement. I identify strongly as a New Yorker and take great pride in my time here.
The Museum of the City of New York is undergoing a renaissance. Ms. Jones departure comes near the conclusion of a 10-year, phased expansion and modernization of the Museum, which will be completed in June 2015.
Ms. Jones and the Board of Trustees are also presiding over the development of what will be a major, first-ever, long-term exhibition on the entire sweep of New York Citys history, which is scheduled to open in October 2016. New York at its Core will occupy the Museums entire first floor, and the installation will include the Future of the City Labwhere visitors can participate, creating and offering their vision of the Citys future.
Changing exhibitions have reached new audiences while maintaining a high level of scholarship over the last 12 years. Examples are: Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand; Hip-Hop Revolution; Gilded New York; The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011; Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile; City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection; and Americas Mayor John V. Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York.
While the Museum has been partially closed during the phased renovation, attendance has grown substantially, with the Museum now serving approximately 250,000 visitors each year.
The Frederick A. O. Schwarz Childrens Center, created during Ms. Jones tenure, expects to welcome 47,500 New York City schoolchildren and teachers the great majority of whom attend public schools through June of this year.
The City Museum has also focused on the needs of its collections. Major portions of the Museums collections are being digitized with a total of 165,000 images currently online at the Museums Collections Portal providing easy access to scholars and the public worldwide.
Beyond 1220 Fifth Avenue, from 2011 to 2013, the City Museum assumed the management of the South Street Seaport Museum. Accomplishments were both programmatic and financial. Superstorm Sandy, however, significantly damaged the Seaport Museum buildings, closing it down and ultimately leading the City Museum to withdraw.
Over the past decade, the City Museums net assets have nearly tripled, and the operating budget has grown from $6 million to $20 million.
Because of Susan Jones work with the Board and her talented staff, the Museum is poised to reach its next level of growth with the 2016 opening of New York at Its Core. I am confident that we will attract a new leader who will build upon Susans successes and launch this unique, state-of-the-art exhibition as one of the great cultural and historical attractions in New York, Mr. Dinan added.
Prior to serving at the City Museum, Ms. Jones was President and Director of the National Building Museum in Washington D.C from 1994 to 2002. Her career, however, began in New York City, where she was the President of the New York Landmarks Conservancy from 1988 to 1994 and Executive Director from 1975-1980. She left the Conservancy in 1980 to attend business school and to help run her familys manufacturing company. Ms. Jones began her career in New York City in the early 1970s in the Lindsay Administration. She was one of three founders of Creative Time, a non-profit devoted to art in the public realm.
Ms. Jones attended Vassar College, where she graduated with a B.A. in English Literature. She received her MBA from Columbia Universitys Graduate School of Business. She is married to Richard K. Eaton, a federal judge, and they are the parents of Alice and Liza Eaton.