Nelson-Atkins new CEO looks to build on a 'World Treasure'

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - From Mexico, to Paris, New York to Kansas City, Julian Zugzagoitia brings a new flavor to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of art.

Mr. Z, as he is known to the staff, has boundless energy and is not afraid to laugh at his self or the stuffy reputation of museums.

One of his latest acquisitions to the Nelson was not a major masterpiece, but a set of golf carts that can help patrons move from one end of the large building to the other.

Zugasagoitia named them "shuttle carts," to match the famous Shuttle Cocks sitting on the museum lawn.

Zugazagoitia is well aware of the controversy over those Shuttle Cocks many years ago.

He realizes his decisions may spark controversy as well, But so far He has permission from patrons to drive the museum in his own direction.

With a laugh he recalls a conversation he had with a woman who is a Nelson supporter.

"She said, ‘When they first got the Shuttle Cocks I hated them, but now I love them. When they first built the addition I hated it, but now I love it. So don't worry. When you first do something, I will hate it, but then I will love it.' It was so liberating."

Zugazagoitia and his family have been in Kansas City since September.


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