Western Jewish Museums

ARIZONA

Congregation Beth Israel, Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum
10460 N. 56th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Carol Reynolds, Director
Tel: (480) 951-0323 ext. 121
Fax: (480) 951-7150
Email: creynolds@cbiaz.org
Website: www.cbiaz.org/about/museum

Current exhibit hours: Wednesday 12 pm -2 pm, or by appointment

Founded in 1967 at Congregation Beth Israel, the Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum has grown to be one of the Southwest's most important institutions of education in the Jewish heritage. With a full program of exhibits, events and activities, the Museum offers all audiences a unique insight into the 5,000 years of Jewish culture.

Jewish History Museum
564 South Stone Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85701
P.O. Box 889
Tucson, AZ 85702
Bryan Davis, Executive Director
Lisa Schachter-Brooks, Director of Operations
Tel: (520) 670-9073
Fax: (520) 670-9078
Email: museum@jewishhistorymuseum.org
Website: www.jewishhistorymuseum.org

Museum hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm; Friday 12 pm - 3 pm

Housed in the first synagogue of the Arizona Territory, the Jewish History Museum fulfills its mission to preserve, collect, exhibit and teach the Jewish heritage of Southern Arizona, through exhibitions, programs, events and outreach opportunities. Its collections include papers, photographs, oral histories, textiles, books and religious objects from the pioneer period 1854 through the modern era, as well as a Holocaust History Center dedicated to the ongoing examination of the Holocaust through the lived experiences of individuals who survived the war and later lived in Southern Arizona. Researchers may access the collections via the museum office.

CALIFORNIA

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 655-7800
Email:info@thecjm.org
Lori Starr, Executive Director
Website: www.thecjm.org

Museum hours: Daily 11 am - 5 pm, Thursday 11 am - 8 pm, Closed Wednesday

Founded in 1984, the Contemporary Jewish Museum provides an engaging forum for diverse audiences where new perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas can thrive. As a non-collecting institution, the CJM partners with national and international cultural institutions to present exhibitions that are both timely and relevant and represent the highest level of artistic achievement and scholarship. The CJM makes the diversity of the Jewish experience relevant for a twenty-first century audience through innovative exhibitions and programs that educate, challenge, and inspire.

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
University of California, Berkeley
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-6300
Tel: (510) 643-2526
Email (General Inquiries): magnes@library.berkeley.edu
Email (Research & Collections): magnesresearch@library.berkeley.edu
Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of Collections
Email: spagnoloacht@berkeley.edu 
Tel: (510) 643-2538 
Website: www.magnes.org
See ARCHIVES for the Magnes collections, finding aids, and contact numbers.

Museum hours: Tuesday - Friday 11 am - 4 pm

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is based on the holdings of the former Judah L. Magnes Museum, one of the first Jewish museums in the United States, founded in Berkeley in 1962 by Seymour Fromer and his wife, Rebecca Camhi Fromer.

Reflecting the guiding concerns of American Jewry after the Holocaust, the Magnes focused on preserving the legacy of vanishing communities around the world. Its founding paralleled the establishment of Jewish studies as an academic field, and the museum continued to involve leading scholars, including UC Berkeley faculty and students, in the development and interpretation of its holdings. Responding to the ethos of pluralism of the 1960s, the Magnes expanded the canon of Jewish cultural history, integrating visual, musical and material cultures with traditional text-focused approachs.

In 1967, the museum acquired its first significant acquisition, the Siegfried S. Strauss Collection, which included hundreds of Jewish ritual objects, documents, rare books and manuscripts from Europe. Subsequently, the museum's unique perspective led to collecting beyond the boundaries of Western societies and embraced the Jewish cultures of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. At the same time, the Magnes pioneered the study and documentation of regional Jewish history in the American West.

Over the years, through purchases and generous gifts, the Magnes has continued to expand the scope of its collection to include modern and contemporary art, music, and rare books and manuscripts in Hebrew and other Jewish languages.

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Tel: (310) 440-4500
Email: info@skirball.org
Website: www.skirball.org

Museum hours: Tuesday - Friday 12 pm - 5 pm, Saturday - Sunday 10 am - 5 pm, Closed Mondays

The Skirball's mission is to explore the connections between four thousand years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It seeks to welcome and inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity in American life.

The Skirball features an extraordinary museum, as well as Zeidler's Café, Audrey's Museum Store, and a new interactive family destination inspired by the Noah's Ark story -- all in a stunning architectural setting designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. More than 600,000 people visit the Skirball each year to enjoy the changing exhibitions; attend diverse music, theatre, comedy, film, family and literary programs; participate in meetings hosted by community organizations, educational institutions, or local businesses; or partake in a life-cycle event such as a baby naming, wedding, or memorial service. The Skirball's acclaimed school program serves more than 60,000 children and teachers annually from public, private, and parochial schools.

The Skirball's core exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America, traces the experiences and accomplishments of the Jewish people over four thousand years. The galleries include multimedia installations, rare artifacts, photographs, interactive computer stations, and sound recordings that lead visitors on the Jewish people's journey, culminating with their history in the United States. The story presented is about retaining one's own culture while adapting to life in America. As with all Skirball exhibitions and programs, it seeks to communicate universal themes to people of all heritages and beliefs.

The Jewish Museum of the American West
22711 Cass Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Tel: (818) 225-9631
David Epstein, Director
Regina Merwin, Curator
Email: Curator@jmaw.org
Website: www.jmaw.org

This virtual museum was created by the Western States Jewish History Association, an organization started in 1968, whose primary focus is the involvement of the Jews in the development of the American West. As the association expanded, it created the Jewish Museum of the American West, beginning with an archive of photographs gathered by Dr. Norton Stern and Rabbi William Kramer. The museum consists of online exhibition halls specific to each state (with Alaska and Hawaii soon to come). Headed by David Epstein, the collection is an excellent, modern way of accessing information on the rich and abundant Western Jewish pioneer past.

COLORADO

Mizel Museum
400 South Kearney Street
Denver, CO 80224-1238
(303) 394-9993
Melanie Pearlman, President and CEO
Tel: (303) 749-5011
Email: mpearlman@mizelmuseum.org
Georgina Kolber, Managing Director
Tel: (303) 749-5014
Email: gkolber@mizelmuseum.org
Website: www.mizelmuseum.org

Museum hours: All tours and visits are booked by appointment only.

The Mizel Museum was founded by Dr. Rabbi Stanley Wagner and Denver philanthropists Carol and Larry A. Mizel in 1982 to bring attention to Jewish life, art, history, and culture in Colorado. Its inaugural exhibition was titled "Denver Jewry Through the Years: A Family Album." Over the years, it has grown from a small ethnic museum to a nationally-recognized, award-winning institution that addresses today's social justice issues through the lens of Jewish history and values, reaching broad local and regional audiences with cross-cultural programs that promote dialogue, reflection and creativity. The Mizel Museum also offers family events, summer camps and classes in art, dance and crafts for children of all faiths.

OREGON

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
1953 NW Kearney Street
Portland, OR 97209-3925
Judith Margles, Executive Director
Tel: (503) 226-3600 ext.103
Fax: (503) 226-1800
Email: jmargles@ojmche.org
Website: www.ojmche.org

Museum hours: Exhibit galleries and gift shop closed through early June 2017

See ARCHIVES for OJMCHE collections and additional contact numbers.

The history of the Oregon Jewish Museum began in 1974 when a group of volunteers formed the Oregon Jewish Historical Society and embarked on an extensive oral history project. Two decades later, this archival collection was acquired by and served as the foundation for the then homeless museum.
In need of a space to house its ever-growing collection, the Oregon Jewish Museum moved first to a donated office suite and then to a small storefront in Portland's Old Town. At these locations, the museum established itself through successful exhibitions, public programs, and the publication of a quarterly newsletter. In 2009, the museum relocated to a new 6,400 square-foot facility in Northwest Portland, where, for the first time, it was able to host multiple, concurrent exhibitions. Its multimedia-equipped auditorium became the site for films, lectures, chamber music, poetry readings and intimate theatre experiences.
In July 2014, the museum merged with its neighbor, the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center and became the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, thereby acquiring the center's collections as well as stewardship of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial.
In July 2016, OJMCHE purchased a 14,500-square-foot museum facility at 724 NW Davis Street, which will allow state-of-the-art storage for the museum's archives and collections, a café, gift shop, multi-purpose auditorium and two floors of exhibition space. Grand opening of the new space is set for June 2017.