Located on New York City’s Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum is a jewel-box of an art museum, and a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds.
The Museum maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of fine art, Judaica, antiquities, folk art, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media which reflect the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. Our distinguished exhibition history reveals a deep and rich exploration of Jewish culture and identity, and includes some of the most seminal shows of the 20th and 21st centuries. Our dynamic education programs – from talks and lectures, to performances, to hands-on art making and more – serve a wide range of audiences, including families, students, educators, and art lovers.
The Jewish Museum, one of the world’s preeminent institutions devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture, from ancient to contemporary, was founded in 1904 in the library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where it was housed for more than four decades. The Jewish Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is the oldest existing Jewish museum in the world.
Judge Mayer Sulzberger1 donated the first gift of 26 objects of fine and ceremonial art to the library of The Jewish Theological Seminary with the suggestion that a Jewish museum be formed. Subsequent gifts and purchases have helped to form the Museum’s distinguished permanent collection, one of the largest and most important of its kind in the world.
In 1944, Frieda Schiff Warburg2, widow of the prominent businessman and philanthropist Felix Warburg3, who had been a Seminary trustee, donated the family mansion4 at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street to the Seminary for use as a museum. Located along New York City's Museum Mile, and designed in the French Gothic chateau-style by architect Charles P.H. Gilbert, the original building was completed in 1908, and has been the home of the Museum since 1947.
A sculpture court was installed alongside the Mansion in 1959, and the Albert A. List Building was added in 1963 to provide additional exhibition and program space. In 1989, a major expansion and renovation project was undertaken; upon completion in June 1993, the expansion doubled the Museum’s gallery space, created new space for educational programs, provided significant improvements in public amenities, and added a two-floor permanent collection exhibition called Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, which tells the unfolding story of Jewish culture and identity through 800 works of art.
Today, the Jewish Museum presents a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions while maintaining a collection of nearly 30,000 objects reflecting global Jewish identity – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, ethnographic material, archaeological artifacts, numismatics, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media.
The Jewish Museum’s programming includes large temporary exhibitions of an interdisciplinary nature, often employing a combination of art and artifacts interpreted through the lens of social history. The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth and Justice (1987)5, Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy (1989), Bridges and Boundaries: African Americans and American Jews (1992), From Court Jews to the Rothschilds: Art, Patronage and Power 1600 – 1800 (1996), Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture 1890 – 1918 (1999), The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons (2005), and The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936 – 1951 (2011) are examples of this type of exhibition.
The Museum is also known for monograph shows of significant artists such as Camille Pissarro (1995), Marc Chagall (2013, 2001, and 1996), Chaim Soutine (1998), George Segal (1998), Adolph Gottlieb (2002), Amedeo Modigliani (2004), Eva Hesse (2006), Alex Katz (2006), Louise Nevelson (2007), Man Ray (2009), Maira Kalman (2011), Edouard Vuillard (2012), Jack Goldstein (2013), Art Spiegelman (2013), and Mel Bochner (2014).
Works of modern and contemporary artists are regularly presented in group exhibitions such as Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities (1996), Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940 – 1976 (2008), and Other Primary Structures (2014).
The Museum regularly presents a diverse and wide-ranging array of daytime and evening programs for individuals, groups, families, and schools.
For more than a century, the Jewish Museum has illuminated art and Jewish culture from biblical times to the present, offering intellectually engaging and educational exhibitions and programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. Together with its unparalleled collection, the Museum provides an ever-changing and dynamic range of opportunities for exploring multiple facets of the Jewish experience, and for educating current and future generations.
On 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 in the world.
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.
The collection is installed in the Seminary’s new Jacob H. Schiff Library as the Museum of Jewish Ceremonial Objects.
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.
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.
Frieda Schiff Warburg gives the Seminary her family residence at 1109 Fifth Avenue to house the Museum.
The Jewish Museum inaugurates its home in the former Warburg mansion. Curator Stephen Kayser declares that it’s the Museum’s mission to use the fine arts to explore the substance of Jewish life and history. He defines the Museum’s 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.
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.
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.
To mark its 10th anniversary at 1109 Fifth Avenue, the Museum presents a path-breaking 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.
Alan Solomon becomes Director and confirms the Museum’s commitment to exhibiting the work of New York City’s most advanced artists.
A building expansion, underwritten by Vera and Albert A. List, opens, providing 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.
The Museum presents Jasper Johns’ first solo museum exhibition.
Sam Hunter becomes Director of the Jewish Museum.
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.
The exhibition Masada: Struggle for Freedom is presented.
Karl Katz becomes Director of the Jewish Museum.
Software, a pioneering exhibition about information technology and interactive art, is organized.
The Museum opens a permanent installation of archaeological artifacts.
Joy Ungerleider becomes Director.
The Museum negotiates the acquisition of nearly 6,000 ancient artifacts found in Israel, and expands its focus to encompass all of Jewish culture.
Jewish Experience in the Art of the 20th Century is presented.
The retrospective exhibition Jack Levine: Paintings, Drawings and Graphics is presented.
Jacques Lipchitz’s sculpture The Sacrifice is prominently installed.
Joan Rosenbaum becomes Director of the Jewish Museum.
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.
Kings and Citizens: The History of the Jews in Denmark, 1622 – 1983 is presented.
The Precious Legacy: Judaic Treasures from the Czechoslovak State Collections is presented.
The Museum honors Dorothy Rodgers for her role in inspiring the development of a permanent collection exhibition.
The plaster version of George Segal’s The Holocaust is acquired, becoming one of the Museum’s signature works.
Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy is organized.
The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth and Justice, an acclaimed exhibition integrating the visual arts and social history, is presented.
A renovation and expansion project, designed by architect Kevin Roche, begins.
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 is presented.
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 25 family programming.
The exhibitions Too Jewish?: Challenging Traditional Identities and Marc Chagall: 1907 – 1917 are presented.
An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine is organized.
The newly reinstalled Floor 4 galleries of the permanent collection exhibition, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey open, accompanied by thematic audio guides.
Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections is presented.
The exhibitions New York: Capital of Photography and the widely discussed Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art are presented.
The exhibitions Entertaining America: Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting and Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider are organized.
The newly reinstalled Floor 3 galleries of Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey open.
Centennial year celebrations are highlighted by the exhibition Modigliani: Beyond the Myth.
The exhibitions The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons, Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak, and Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama are presented.
The Jewish Museum marks Joan Rosenbaum’s 25th anniversary as director.
The exhibitions Eva Hesse: Sculpture and Alex Katz Paints Ada are organized.
The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend, the first major American survey of the artist’s work since 1980, is organized.
A new interactive children’s exhibition, Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces, opens.
Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940 – 1976, the first major U. S. exhibition in 20 years to rethink Abstract Expressionism, is organized by the Jewish Museum in collaboration with the Albright-Knox Gallery and the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention is presented.
Houdini: Art and Magic, the first major art museum exhibition to examine Houdini’s life, is organized.
Claudia Gould becomes Director of the Jewish Museum.
Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore and The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936 – 1951 are presented.
The New York Jewish Film Festival marks its 20th anniversary with record attendance.
The exhibitions Kehinde Wiley/The World Stage: Israel; Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890 – 1940; Crossing Borders: Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries; and Izhar Patkin: The Messiah’s glAss are presented.
Light My Fire, a Hanukkah app, is launched featuring selections from the Museum’s unparalleled collection of Hanukkah lamps.
The exhibitions As it were … So to speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom; Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh; Jack Goldstein × 10,000; Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix: A Retrospective; and Chagall: Love, War, and Exile are presented.
The exhibitions Other Primary Structures and Mel Bochner: Strong Language are presented.
For proposal information click here.
The Museum and its staff are unable to authenticate or perform appraisals of works of art or artifacts for the public. We suggest that you consult a reputable art dealer, appraiser, or auction house. You may also wish to contact the Appraisers Association of America to get more information on certain types of appraisals.
The Jewish Museum receives inquiries from many artists, and its curatorial staff is always interested in reviewing work for acquisition and exhibition. However, due to the volume of submissions we regret that we cannot do so in person, nor can we accept original art objects for consideration.
If you would like to submit a proposal for either exhibition or acquisition review, please refer to the next question for a list of procedures that should be followed.
Unfortunately, the museum does not offer advance purchase of general admission tickets.
A request for donations of admission passes may be submitted by email to Visitor Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the name of the organization and the date of your fundraiser. You may also fax a letter on organization letterhead to Visitor Services at 212.423.3232, or mail it to Visitor Services, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128.
The Jewish Museum does not develop its exhibition programming from unsolicited submissions. However, if you are interested in proposing an exhibition, please view our past exhibitions and upcoming exhibitions pages for a sense of our programming and mission.
If you wish to submit a proposal please send the following materials. Materials sent without a self-addressed stamp envelope will not be returned. Proposals are reviewed quarterly and returned accordingly.
Cover letter with your contact information
A maximum two page exhibition proposal detailing the themes and artists included in the exhibit
The curator’s CV or resume
An illustrated checklist with artist’s name and date, medium, and dimension
A CD with a maximum of 10 images
Brief biographies of all of the artists
A self-addressed, stamped envelope
Email submissions will not be accepted. Please mail submissions to:
Curatorial Department Coordinator
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128
If you own a work that you believe would be of interest to the Museum, please send us the following:
Email submissions will not be accepted. We will be in contact if we are interested in acquiring your work.
Please mail submissions to:
Curatorial Department Coordinator
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128
Potential donations or works for sale cannot be brought to the Museum or left in our custody, and we cannot review objects in person.
No. The Museum and its staff are unable to identify, authenticate, or perform appraisals of works of art or artifacts for the public. We suggest that you consult a reputable art dealer, appraiser, or auction house. You may also wish to contact the Appraisers Association of America to get more information on certain types of appraisals.
The Jewish Museum reviews work from many artists and artists’ representatives worldwide. We recognize that many of the artists that submit material for review are talented and meritorious of exhibition. However, we are rarely able to accommodate unsolicited submissions for exhibitions.
Please note that the artist review procedure is intended for informational purposes only, and that the staff does not provide critique or comments on the work submitted. We regret that due to the large volume of submissions, we often cannot respond individually. Submissions are reviewed quarterly and will be returned accordingly. If there is interest in the artwork, our staff will contact you. Please do not call to inquire about the status of your submission.
Before submitting materials, we ask that you visit the museum website in order to determine if your work is appropriate to The Jewish Museum’s programming and mission.
We cannot accept original art objects for consideration and we cannot review materials or portfolios in person.
Please note that while linking to an artist’s website is encouraged, this is supplementary to the submission and submissions must always include hard copies of the following:
If you would like your materials returned, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Materials without an SASE will not be returned.
The Jewish Museum is not responsible for materials submitted.
Please mail submission materials to:
Curatorial Department Coordinator
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128
Please note: Email submissions cannot be accepted.