Beckerman has lived in the
To take the job at SAM, Beckerman, 58, is closing his consulting firm.
"The time spent as a museum consultant was invaluable," he said in an interview Thursday. "It's given me a lot of great of information about museums. Going into a variety of them really helps you understand how they're similar and where the weak points can show up, and where the strong points show up as well."
His interest in museums dates back to his childhood: "I was fortunate to have a family that loved the arts, and my mother was keen on having her five children go to museums frequently."
How did airplanes fit into his art interests?
"I've loved aircraft since seeing pictures of them and making models as a boy," he said. "To me they cover at least two fascinating worlds -- technology and sculpture."
Beckerman grew up in
His mission at SAM, with its
SAM's director, Kimerly Rorschach, said of Beckerman: "He brings a lot of great skills to the position that will be very beneficial for us. ... He's seen how things are done in other institutions, none of which, interestingly, were art museums."
Most of them were institutions that relied heavily on earned income and thought about the tourist audience. "We need to do more of that," Rorschach said.
At SAM, one of his goals will be "to improve on the budget and to get us into blacker ink." His focus will be "the earned revenue side of the business ... everything from admission tickets to group sales to the gift shop to the rental gallery," he said.
SAM, he acknowledged, is still in the last stages of recovery from the 2008 collapse of its business partner, Washington Mutual, and running "a slight deficit."
"We're through the worst parts of that," he said, "and we're very close to where we want to be."
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