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Exhibitions & Collections

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Special Exhibitions

Now on view...

Sifting Through Ashes
October 27, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Birkenau with captionsSifting Through Ashes is an exhibition of works by Bruce Gendelman, who captures the unimaginable atrocities of the Holocaust through nine large-scale, richly textural oil paintings and a series of photographs. The exhibition—which will convey the unique and important role of contemporary art in educating new audiences about the Holocaust—will make its national museum debut at NMAJH before the works continue traveling worldwide.

In August 2015, Gendelman toured sites of Holocaust cruelties with his camera in tow. He met witnesses, deniers, and ghosts of his ancestors. The artist wrestled with how to describe what he had witnessed. His experiences were captured in stunning photographs, and his attempt to further express the unimaginable manifested itself in dramatic oil paintings.

Presented in partnership with the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation.

Power of Protest: The Movement to Free Soviet Jews
December 6, 2017 - January 15, 2018
Available to travel late January 2018

The personal stories of American Jewish activists and Soviet Jews – known as refuseniks – will be brought to life in Power of Protest: The Movement to Free Soviet Jews, a new traveling exhibition created by NMAJH. It will explore the significance of this dramatic, risky, and emotionally fraught social justice movement, what The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg has called "the most successful human rights campaign of our time." After World War II, Jews who lived in the Soviet Union were denied the rights to live freely, practice Judaism, or leave the country. A worldwide human rights effort on their behalf brought together organizations, student activists, community leaders, and thousands of individuals – and reached the highest echelons of the American government. The exhibition will serve as a reminder of the unique promise of religious freedom and our continuing responsibility to preserve and protect that freedom.

Power of Protest is a small-scale, free-standing exhibition designed to travel to small galleries, libraries, synagogues, Jewish community centers, university campuses, and historic societies. To learn more about bringing the exhibition to your community, click here.

Power of Protest was created by the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. The exhibition is supported, in part, through a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a government agency dedicated to advancing innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Additional support provided by Alkemy X, the Charlestein Family in memory of Malvina and Morton Charlestein, and the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

Coming soon...

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music

March 16 – September 2, 2018

Young Bernstein image

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music, organized by NMAJH, will celebrate the centennial birthday of one of the 20th century’s most influential cultural figures, who personified classical music and produced a rich repertoire of original compositions for orchestra and the theater. Audiences may be familiar with many of Bernstein’s works, notably West Side Story, but not necessarily how he grappled with his own religious, political, and sexual identity, or how he responded to the political and social crises of his day. Visitors will find an individual who expressed the restlessness, anxiety, fear, and hope of an American Jew living through World War II and the Holocaust, Vietnam, and turbulent social change – what Bernstein referred to as his “search for a solution to the 20th‐century crisis of faith.” The exhibition will feature one‐of‐a‐kind historic artifacts, all brought to life through immersive film, sound installations, and interactive media.

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Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music has been made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Key support provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. Major support provided by: Cheryl and Philip Milstein; The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Family Foundation; and Lindy Communities; Additional support provided by Judith Creed and Robert Schwartz; Robert and Marjie Kargman; David G. and Sandra G. Marshall; Robin and Mark Rubenstein; The Savitz Family Foundation; Norma z”l and Abe z”l Shanzer; and the Arronson Foundation. Special thanks to The Leonard Bernstein Office, the Bernstein Family, Jacobs Music, and the Milken Archive of Jewish Music.