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Museum Musings

Museum Welcomes Special Visitor

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We had the honor of welcoming to the Museum last Friday Lonnie Bunch, the Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and his wife, Maria.

 AAM visit 

Earlier in the week, I had been in Washington for the groundbreaking ceremony for the African American Museum. I felt great pride in being an American, seeing this community break ground on a Museum telling the story of its American journey, and I was quite moved by President Obama’s stirring remarks at the ceremony.

 

Because I had just been at the groundbreaking, it was a special pleasure to be able to spend some time with Lonnie and Maria and tell them about our museum. We labor in the same vineyard, telling different but in some ways strikingly similar stories about the struggles our peoples have faced to perfect and secure the freedoms promised in our nation’s foundational documents. And our journeys, of course, have intersected in powerful ways, with Jewish Americans playing a prominent role in the civil rights movement, so compellingly illustrated by the iconic photograph we MLK - Hescheldisplay of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. marching side-by-side with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in Selma in 1965.

 

We look forward to welcoming the new African American Museum and celebrating its opening on the national Mall in 2015. May Lonnie and his staff go from strength to strength.

 

 

-- Contributed by Michael Rosenzweig

President and CEO

 

In Praise of a Dream

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As the Jewish holiday cycle turns to a celebration of nature with the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, which begins the evening ofApple Tree Feb. 7, Museum visitors who venture down to the concourse level or even gaze down into the atrium will see the intense orange shine of juice filled persimmons; tight bunches of yellow dates exploding from a tree like fireworks; and bold red pomegranates, symbols of the land of milk and honey. 
  

Seven large breath-taking photographs of Israeli trees lush with fruit and impeccably pruned against a black backdrop now take their place on a once-empty wall.


Israeli artist Tal Shochat’s photographs from her In Praise of a Dream series serve as a dramatic reminder of human responsibilities to the environments in which we live. They invoke questions of rootedness, about Jews’ millennial history as a Diaspora people and their relationships to the homelands in which they have chosen to settle.  They serve as a reminder of ideals worth fighting for and they make a profound statement with a simple icon: the tree.


The exhibition, which opened Feb. 1, inaugurates a new exhibitions program on the Museum’s concourse level and is part of an initiative to present new artifacts and exhibitions throughout the Museum that highlight aspectDates of the American Jewish experience for new and returning visitors, according to Ivy L. Barsky, the Museum’s Gwen Goodman director and COO.

 

Shochat’s prints were first exhibited in the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York, which represents the artist. She is a noted photographer and teacher in Israel and has had solo shows at Rosenfeld Gallery, Tel Aviv, Herzliya Museum of Art and Haifa Museum of Art. Her work is in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and The Shpilman Institute of Photography, Tel Aviv.


Shochat’s In Praise of a Dream series and runs through April 22, Earth Day.
 

-Contributed by Ilana Blumenthal

Public Relations Associate