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100 Years at The Jewish Museum: A TimelineShare

January 20, 1904 Judge Mayer Sulzberger donates 26 objects of Jewish ceremonial art to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. The newly formed museum is the first institution of its kind in the United States and one of the first of a handful in the world.

1925 Through the efforts of Seminary President Cyrus Adler and Felix M. Warburg, the Museum purchases the important collection of 400 Jewish ceremonial objects assembled in the 19th century by Turkish art dealer Hadji Ephraim Benguiat.

1931 The collection is installed in the Seminary's new Jacob H. Schiff Library as The Museum of Jewish Ceremonial Objects.

1939 The imperiled Jewish community of Danzig (Gdansk, Poland) sends ritual objects from its synagogues and homes to New York City for safekeeping. Some 350 of these objects, entrusted to the Museum, are later incorporated into the collection.

1941 Dr. Harry G. Friedman presents a major collection of ceremonial objects, paintings, sculptures, prints and manuscripts to the Museum. His continuing donations, eventually numbering more than 6,000 works, include pieces from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

1944 Frieda Schiff Warburg gives the Seminary her family residence at 1109 Fifth Avenue to house the Museum.

1947 The Jewish Museum inaugurates its home in the former Warburg mansion. Curator Stephen Kayser declares the mission of using the fine arts to explore the substance of Jewish life and history. He defines the Museums audience as "the American community," which should "be given insight into the traditions, history, legends and aspirations of the Jewish people."
The Museum purchases the rare and important collection of Polish Judaica assembled by Benjamin and Rose Mintz.

1952 One hundred and twenty ceremonial objects, looted by the Nazis and recovered by the United States Military Government, are presented to the Museum by Jewish Cultural Reconstruction.

1956 Dr. Abraham Kanof and his wife, Dr. Frances Pascher, establish the Tobe Pascher Workshop for the creation of Jewish ceremonial art in a modern style.

1957 To mark its 10th anniversary at 1109 Fifth Avenue, the Museum presents a pathbreaking contemporary art exhibition, Artists of the New York School: Second Generation, featuring works by 23 emerging artists including Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and George Segal.

1962 Alan Solomon becomes Director and confirms the Museum's commitment to exhibiting the work of New York City's most advanced artists.

1963 Vera and Albert A. List underwrite a building expansion that provides flexible modern galleries and an outdoor sculpture court.
The Museum organizes the Recent American Synagogue Architecture exhibition, including designs by Louis Kahn and Barnett Newman.

1964 Jasper Johns' first solo museum exhibition is presented.

1965 Sam Hunter becomes Director of The Jewish Museum.

1966 Primary Structures, the landmark exhibition that defined the Minimalist movement; the first major exhibition of the paintings of Ad Reinhardt; and the exhibition Lower East Side: Portal to American Life are organized.

1967 The exhibition Masada: Struggle for Freedom is presented.

1968 Karl Katz becomes Director of The Jewish Museum.

1970 Software, a pioneering exhibition about information technology and interactive art is organized.

1971 A permanent installation of archaeological artifacts is opened.

1972 Joy Ungerleider becomes Director. The Museum negotiates the acquisition of nearly 6,000 ancient artifacts found in Israel. The Museum curtails its exhibitions of avant-garde art to refocus on the Jewish community.

1975 Jewish Experience in the Art of the 20th Century exhibition.

1978 Jack Levine: Paintings, Drawings and Graphics retrospective exhibition.

1980 Jacques Lipchitz's sculpture The Sacrifice is prominently installed.

1981 Joan Rosenbaum becomes Director.
The Museum's archaeological holdings expand with the gift of Max and Betty Ratner's antiquities collection.
The National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, with a mission to collect, preserve and exhibit television, cable television and radio programs related to the Jewish experience, is founded at the Museum through support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation

1983 Kings and Citizens: The History of the Jews in Denmark, 1622-1983 exhibition.

1984 The Precious Legacy: Judaic Treasures from the Czechoslovak State Collections exhibition.

1985 The Museum honors Dorothy Rodgers for her role in inspiring the development of a permanent core exhibition.
The plaster version of George Segal's The Holocaust is acquired, becoming one of the Museum's signature works.

1986 Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy exhibition.

1987 The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth and Justice, an acclaimed exhibition integrating the visual arts and social history.

1990 A renovation and expansion project, designed by architect Kevin Roche, begins.

1992 In collaboration with The Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum establishes The New York Jewish Film Festival.
Bridges and Boundaries: African Americans and American Jews exhibition.

1993 The Museum re-opens in expanded and renovated quarters. Inaugural presentations include From the Inside Out: Eight Contemporary Artists and the permanent exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey.
The Museum initiates annual December 25th family programming.

1996 The exhibitions Too Jewish?: Challenging Traditional Identities and Marc Chagall: 1907-1917 are presented.

1998 An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine exhibition.

2000 The newly reinstalled 4th floor galleries of the permanent exhibition Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey open, accompanied by thematic audio guides.

2001 Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections exhibition.

2002 The exhibitions New York: Capital of Photography and the widely discussed Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art are presented.

2003 The exhibitions Entertaining America: Jews, Movies and Broadcasting and Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider are organized.
The newly reinstalled 3rd floor galleries of Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey open.

January 20, 2004 The 101st year begins.

Plan Your Visit

The Jewish Museum - 5th Avenue
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128