Welcome to the Jewish Museum

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.

Jewish Museum History

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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.

Timeline

  • 1904

    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.

  • 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 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.

    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 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.

    1959

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

  • 1963

    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.

    1964

    The Museum presents Jasper Johns’ first solo museum exhibition.

    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

    ​The Museum opens a permanent installation of archaeological artifacts.

    1972

    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.

    1975

    Jewish Experience in the Art of the 20th Century is presented.

    1978

    The retrospective exhibition Jack Levine: Paintings, Drawings and Graphics is presented.

  • 1980

    Jacques Lipchitz’s sculpture The Sacrifice is prominently installed.

    1981

    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.

    1983

    Kings and Citizens: The History of the Jews in Denmark, 1622 – 1983 is presented.

    1984

    The Precious Legacy: Judaic Treasures from the Czechoslovak State Collections is presented.

    1985

    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.

    1986

    Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy is organized.

    1987

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

    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 is presented.

    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 25 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 is organized.

  • 2000

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

    2001

    Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections is presented.

    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 Floor 3 galleries of Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey open.

    2004

    Centennial year celebrations are highlighted by the exhibition Modigliani: Beyond the Myth.

    2005

    The exhibitions The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their SalonsWild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak, and Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama are presented.

    2006

    The Jewish Museum marks Joan Rosenbaum’s 25th anniversary as director.

    The exhibitions Eva Hesse: Sculpture and Alex Katz Paints Ada are organized.

    2007

    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.

    2008

    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. 

    2009

    Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention is presented.


    2010

    Houdini: Art and Magic, the first major art museum exhibition to examine Houdini’s life, is organized.

    2011

    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.

    2012

    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.

    2013

    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.

  • 2014

    The exhibitions Other Primary Structures and Mel Bochner: Strong Language are presented.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the following departments.

General Information and Inquiries

General Information
212.423.3200
Press Inquiries

Visit our Press Room for current news releases.

212.423.3271
Rental Facility

Learn more about Rentals availability.​

212.423.3216
Lox at Café Weissman

​Browse the current menu here.

212.423.3307
Website Questions
212.423.3309

Program Information

Public Programs Box Office

Check out our Public Programs and see what’s on the calendar.

212.423.3337
Family Programs Box Office

​Learn more about Family Programs and see what’s on the calendar.

212.423.3337
School Programs Information

See our resources for Pre-K – 12 Educators

212.423.3225
Adult Group Tours Information

Learn more about planning your group visit

212.423.3225
Film Festival

The New York Jewish Film Festival is presented by the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Membership Information

Membership Information

​Learn about Membership benefits and ways to support the Jewish Museum. 

212.423.3269
Travel Program

See travel packages available exclusively to Jewish Museum members.

845.256.0194
Members-Only Events
212.423-3284
Corporate Members
212.423.3354

Funding Opportunities

Institutional Giving
212.423.3354
Corporate Sponsorships
212.423.3354
Commemorative Gifts and Special Giving Opportunities
212.423.3214

Acquisitions and Exhibitions

For proposal information click here.

Shopping Information

Cooper Shop at the Jewish Museum
212.423.3211
Celebrations, the Jewish Museum Design Shop

​Located at 1 E. 92 St, in the townhouse next door to the Museum

212.423.3260

Human Resources

Employment

​Find out about current Career Opportunities at the Jewish Museum.

212.423.3286
Internships

Read about the seasonal Internship Program.

212.423.3286
Volunteer Program

​Learn about becoming a Volunteer at the Jewish Museum.

212.423.3208

Connect

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Jewish Museum appraise my artwork and artifacts?

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.

Can I submit a proposal for an exhibition or acquisition?

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.

Can I purchase tickets in advance?

Unfortunately, the museum does not offer advance purchase of general admission tickets.

Does the Jewish Museum ever donate admission passes for organizations holding fundraisers?

A request for donations of admission passes may be submitted by email to Visitor Services at visitorservices@thejm.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.

How can I propose an exhibition at the Jewish Museum?

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

I own a work of art that is relevant to the Museum’s mission and collection, and would like to donate/sell it to the Jewish Museum. What should I do?

If you own a work that you believe would be of interest to the Museum, please send us the following:

  • Contact information including an address, phone number, and e-mail
  • A cover letter that states your intentions for sale or donation, provides details about the object, and explains how the object came into your possession.

Please include:

  • The artist's name and title of the work (if applicable)
  • Country of origin
  • Date
  • Medium
  • Dimensions
  • Clearly labeled images of the front and back of the work

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.

Does the Museum appraise or authenticate works of art or artifacts?

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.

How can I introduce the Jewish Museum to my artwork?

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:

  • Cover letter including contact information, including an address, phone number, e-mail, and website, if applicable
  • Resume or Artist's CV with education and exhibition history
  • Artist's statement
  • Up to 10 jpeg images on CD. We will also accept color print-outs or photographs of your work no larger than 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Please clearly mark these materials with artist's name and contact information.
  • Image list with artist's name, title, date, medium, and dimensions
  • Up to five reviews

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.