Director of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem steps aside

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The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has announced its longtime director James Snyder, credited with transforming the institution into a world-class museum, is stepping aside.

It said in a statement Sunday that Snyder will assume a newly created position — International President for the museum's worldwide activities — in 2017.

The museum is now searching for a new director.

Snyder, director since 1997, led the museum "through the most dramatic growth since its founding" including a "$100 million expansion and renewal of the entire Museum" in 2010, the statement said, adding that annual attendance doubled to more than 800,000 during his tenure.

Founded in 1965, the museum's collections range from prehistory to contemporary art and include the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world, it said.