Museum of Jewish Heritage
- Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Mayor Edward I. Koch appoints a Task Force on the Holocaust with George Klein as Chairman in 1981. The Task Force prepares a report recommending building a museum and memorial in New York City. The New York City Holocaust Memorial Commission is established in 1982, with Mayor Koch as Founding Chairman, George Klein and Robert M. Morgenthau as Co-Chairmen, and Senator Jacob K. Javits and Elie Wiesel as Honorary Chairmen, and Dr. David L. Blumenfeld as Executive Director.
In 1986, lease signing and dedication ceremony is held in Battery Park City. Mission statement is adopted, and Dr. David Altshuler is appointed Director of the Museum. The Commission is reconstituted as the New York Holocaust Memorial Commission, with Governor Mario M. Cuomo and Mayor Edward I. Koch as Founding Chairmen. Robert M. Morgenthau, George Klein, Manfred Ohrenstein, and Peter Cohen serve as Co-Chairmen (to be joined by Howard J. Rubenstein in 1993).
Professional staff is hired, and the collecting of artifacts, photographs, and survivor and eyewitness video testimony begins.
On September 11 1997, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is dedicated by dignitaries and Holocaust survivors including Elie Wiesel. The Museum opens to the public on September 15. The cost of the building construction and Core exhibition totals $21.5 million.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, the Museum family mourns along the rest of New York City and the Museum closes its doors for three weeks. Construction of the East Wing resumes on November 27 and is the first construction to begin south of Ground Zero after 9/11. In 2003 the Robert M. Morgenthau Wing finally opens. It is an 82,000-square-foot addition and includes Garden of Stones by internationally acclaimed artist Andy Goldsworthy.
In 2009, overlooking New York Harbor, the Pickman Keeping History Center and Voices of Liberty—an interactive, digital visitor experience—open to the public.
Between 2014 and 2016, Bruce C. Ratner becomes Chairman of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Robert M. Morgenthau becomes Chairman Emeritus, Michael S. Glickman is appointed President & CEO. The Museum launches the Real Estate and Allied Trades Division with an inaugural luncheon honoring Larry Silverstein and his family. The new Prins Fellowship for emigrating scholars, artists, museum professionals, and researchers is also announced.
For International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017, the Museum presents its largest public program ever—a community reading of Night by Elie Wiesel. People from around the world watched the livestream, making it a truly international remembrance.
In 2019, Jack Kliger is appointed President & CEO. The Museum opens Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not Far away. The exhibition was the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America, and an unparalleled opportunity to confront the singular face of human evil—one that arose not long ago and not far away.
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2022, the Museum opened The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do, its new core exhibition featuring over 750 artifacts and 30 films made from its testimonies and collection.
The collecting policy of the Museum of Jewish Heritage focuses on Jewish life during the periods immediately before, during, and after the Holocaust. MJH collects documents, photographs, textiles, artworks and other objects made, owned, or used by Jewish people during this time period, especially those objects with a substantial connection to Holocaust history. MJH do not collect contemporary artworks made by Holocaust survivors.
Anchoring the southernmost tip of Manhattan, the Museum of Jewish Heritage completes the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Across the water, Lady Liberty lifts her lamp and Ellis Island marks the gateway through which millions flowed into this country seeking refuge. The Museum’s meaningful location inspires its mission.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage is a public, American institution with strong Jewish roots. The Core building’s six-sided shape and six-tiered, louvered roof rising 85 feet in the air are reminders of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. They are also reminiscent of the six-pointed Star of David, symbolizing the Museum’s commitment to representing Jewish life and culture as it has endured and evolved.
To the north of the Museum, the buildings of the new World Trade Center gleam—reminders, etched into the New York City skyline, of a collective responsibility to remember and renew.
Some of the more than 30,000 items in the Museum’s collection are featured in Ordinary Treasures: Highlights from the Museum of Jewish Heritage Collection, Rendering Witness: Holocaust-Era Art as Testimony, and other special exhibitions.
Visitors to the Museum can explore documents, textiles, Judaica, toys, musical instruments, diaries and memoirs, posters, and other visual materials.
The Museum collections also include approximately 3,800 audio and video testimonies by Holocaust survivors, liberators, rescuers, Jews who served in the Allied Armies during World War II, and many others.
Generally, the Museum is open Sunday and Wednesday from 10 AM – 5 PM ET, Thursday from 10 AM – 8 PM, and Friday from 10 AM – 3 PM. Last admission to the Museum is 30 minutes prior to closing time.
In the event of holidays or late openings/early closings, the hours will be slightly different.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust houses eight oral history collections containing over 3,800 oral history interviews. Each collection has different conditions governing access.
Museum spaces are wheelchair accessible. MJH is able to provide wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis; please go to the Ann & Abe Oster Welcome Desk for assistance. Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are located on all floors of the Museum.
With advance notice, group tours can be given in ASL, led by a Deaf Museum Educator.
Videos in the exhibitions are open-captioned in English.
All recorded programs on the YouTube channel have automated closed captioning that you can choose to turn on from the viewing window. Some of the live programs offer closed captioning; check specific event pages to learn more.
Service animals are welcome.
With advance notice, the Museum can accommodate groups’ requests, including arranging tours for visitors with developmental or other disabilities.
For more information, please contact email@example.com or call 646.437.4200.
Due to staffing restrictions, collections are available to researchers on a limited basis. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line Reference Inquiry with a description of your project and the material you wish to study.
Digital images are available for research and for reuse. Researchers, please contact email@example.com with the subject line Reference Inquiry. Provide a description of your project and the material you are interested in studying.
To license an image for use, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Licensing Request.
Lox at Cafe Bergson is open and free to the public. No ticket purchase is necessary. Lox is open when the Museum is open but closes at 3pm on Fridays.
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