NMAJH Celebrates 5 Years on Independence Mall

The National Museum of American Jewish History marks the fifth anniversary of its iconic building on Independence Mall by taking a fresh look at its core exhibition, which tells the story of more than 360 years of Jewish life. This includes new objects, as well as new insights into existing displays:

  • Newton Minowthe World War II uniform of Newton N. Minow, who helped build the first telephone lines between India and China, and later, as chairman of the FCC during the Kennedy administration, led to the creation of PBS and “Sesame Street”;
  • interviews with two Hungarian Holocaust survivors, who explain how their own experiences 70 years ago compelled them to help new refugees in their country;
  • pioneering women in the U.S. Army, from Corporal Eva Davidson Radbill, one of the first 300 women to enlist for clerical duty in the Marine Corps in 1918, to the first women to graduate from the United States Army Ranger School in 2015, as well as the Pentagon’s announcement that women will now be considered for all combat positions;
  • Ladino Book the book “Livro de Embazar las linguas Ingelza I Yudish” (“Book for Learning the English and Yiddish languages”), which belonged to Cali and Vitali Sadacca, who emigrated from Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1910, and spoke Judeo-Spanish (also called Ladino);
  • a map of the United States that contains Yiddish state and city names beside their English counterparts;
  • the memories of Rebecca Gratz, a pioneering educator, humanitarian, and social activist, who established the first Hebrew Sunday school in America; and
  • the behind-the-scenes story of Rabbi Peter Schweitzer, who donated many objects throughout the museum, told through a hotel room phone from The Concord Resort in Upstate New York.

5th anniversary logoAll special additions to the core exhibition will be marked with the anniversary logo. New highlights and artifacts will be installed throughout the year. There are also behind-the-scenes glimpses into the museum’s collection, and invitations for visitors to share their own stories.

The anniversary year will also feature a special exhibition, “Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution,” opening on September 16.

As usual, the museum will continue to offer a host of public programs, including the third installation of the “OPEN for Interpretation” program, with photographer J. J. Tiziou as artist-in-residence, as well as numerous lectures, films, performances and symposia.

Philadelphia Jewish Voice articles from late 2010 offer a look-back on the opening of the museum’s new building and main exhibitions.

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