Jewish Museum (Manhattan)

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For the children's museum, see Jewish Children's Museum. For other uses, see Jewish Museum.
Jewish Museum
People outside The Jewish Museum - 2004 Museum Mile Festival.jpg
The Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue
Jewish Museum (Manhattan) is located in Manhattan
Jewish Museum (Manhattan)
Location within Manhattan
Established 1904
Location 1109 5th Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan, New York
Coordinates 40°47′07″N 73°57′27″W / 40.7854°N 73.9575°W / 40.7854; -73.9575
Type Art Museum
Public transit access Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M86
Subway: 86 St
NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg NYCS-bull-trans-5.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6d.svg
Website Official website

The Jewish Museum is an art museum and repository of cultural artifacts, housed at 1109 Fifth Avenue, in the former Felix M. Warburg House, along the Museum Mile in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. The leading Jewish museum in the United States, it contains the largest collection of art and Jewish culture excluding Israeli museums, more than 30,000 objects. While its collection was established in 1904 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the museum did not open to the public until 1947. It focuses both on artifacts of Jewish history and on modern and contemporary art. Its permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, is supplemented by multiple temporary exhibitions each year.[1]


The Felix M. Warburg House, 1908

The collection that seeded the museum began with a gift of 26 Jewish ceremonial art objects from Judge Mayer Sulzberger to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America on January 20, 1904, where it was housed in the seminary's library. The collection was moved in 1931, with the Seminary, to 122nd and Broadway and set aside in a room entitled 'The Museum of Jewish Ceremonial Objects'. The collection was subsequently expanded by major donations from Hadji Ephraim Benguiat and Harry G. Friedman.

In January 1944, Frieda Schiff Warburg, widow of philanthropist Felix M. Warburg (d. 1937), donated the family mansion as a permanent home for the museum, and the site opened to the public as 'The Jewish Museum' in May 1947.[2] The building was expanded in 1963 and by architect Kevin Roche in 1993.

In the 1960s, the museum took a more active role in the general world of contemporary art, with exhibitions such as Primary Structures, which helped to launch the Minimalist art movement.[3] In the decades since, the museum has had a renewed focus on Jewish culture and Jewish artists.[4] From 1990 through 1993, director Joan Rosenbaum led the project to renovate and expand the building and carry out the museum’s first major capital campaign, of $60 million. The project, designed by architect Kevin Roche, doubled the size of the museum, providing it with a seven-story addition. In 1992, the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center teamed up to create The New York Jewish Film Festival, which presents narrative features, short films and documentaries.

Today, the museum also provides educational programs for adults and families, sponsoring concerts, films, symposia and lectures related to its exhibitions. Joan Rosenbaum was the museum's director from 1981 until her retirement in 2010. In 2011 the museum named Claudia Gould as its new director. In 2012 Jens Hoffmann joined as Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs.


The museum has over 26,000 objects including paintings, sculptures, archaeological artifacts, Jewish ceremonial art and many other pieces important to the preservation of Jewish history and culture.[3] Artists included in the museum's collection include James Tissot, Marc Chagall, George Segal, Eleanor Antin and Deborah Kass.[5] This represents the largest collection of Jewish art, Judaica and broadcast media outside of museums in Israel.[6] It has a permanent exhibition called Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, which explores the evolution of Jewish culture from antiquity to the present. The museum's collection includes objects from ancient to modern eras, in all media, and originated in every area of the world where Jews have had a presence.


"Houdini: Art and Magic" exhibition in The Jewish Museum New York

Art Exhibitions[edit]

Over the past twenty years, some of the museum's important exhibitions have included:


  • "Crossing Borders: Manuscripts from the Bodleian Library" (September 14, 2012 - February 3, 2013)
  • "Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol" (November 2, 2012 - March 24, 2013)



As of 2013, the Jewish Museum operates on a $17 million annual budget.[8] Under Joan Rosenbaum's leadership the museum’s collection grew to 26,000 objects, its endowment to more than $92 million and its annual operating budget to $15 million from $1 million in 1981.[9] Rosenbaum chose to emphasize the Jewish side of the museum’s identity, creating the permanent exhibition “Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey,” while also mounting shows of modern Jewish artists such as Chaim Soutine and contemporary artists such as Maira Kalman.[10] In 2013, the museum's board chose Claudia Gould, former director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, as its new director.[10]

In 2015 Kelly Taxter was named one of the top 25 female curators in the world by ArtNet.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins, and David Fisman. New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism between the Second World War and Bicentennial (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995), p.1110
  3. ^ a b Kimmelman, Michael (June 13, 1993). "A Museum Finds Its Time". The New York Times. p. H33. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  4. ^ Smith, Roberta (June 11, 1993). "Jewish Museum as Sum of Its Past". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  5. ^ Masterworks of The Jewish Museum. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004
  6. ^ "Jewish Museum Reopens Sunday". The New York Times. June 6, 1993. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  7. ^ Modigliani: Beyond the Myth Exhibition press release, The Jewish Museum, New York 2004 Retrieved March 7, 2011
  8. ^ Allan Kozinn (February 12, 2013), A Museum Broadens Its Identity New York Times.
  9. ^ Robin Pogrebin (November 30, 2010), Director of Jewish Museum to Step Down New York Times.
  10. ^ a b Kate Taylor (August 23, 2011), Jewish Museum Picks Director From Art World New York Times.
  11. ^ "25 Women Curators On the Rise - artnet News". Retrieved 2015-09-12. 

External links[edit]