The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life engages scholars, curators, librarians, archivists, and museum specialists. Follow the links below to learn more about our team.
Erik Nelson joined The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in 2014, after working as the Manager for the Department of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley for six years (since 2009), where he also managed the Doctoral Program in Jewish Studies.
Ernest Jolly has over 15 years of exhibition and collection management experience, including work at the Oakland Museum of California, UC Davis Design Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. In addition to being a museum professional, Ernest is a working artist and arts adviser. Ernest holds a BA and MFA in Studio Art from San Francisco State University and Mills College. He is currently an Arts Commissioner for Alameda County - District 5.
Francesco Spagnolo, a multidisciplinary scholar focusing on Jewish studies, music and digital media, is the Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life and an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a host for the cultural programs of Italian National Radio (RAI) in Rome. At UC Berkeley, he is also an affiliated faculty with the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, and serves on the Digital Humanities Council.
Julie Franklin has been working in the arts for the last twenty-two years. She was the Director of the California Crafts Museum and the Registrar at the Treasure Island Museum, The Mexican Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art. She has successfully overseen the installations of over 50 exhibitions in four Bay Area museums and was instrumental in helping the San Jose Museum of Art obtain their American Association of Museum’s Accreditation.
Lisa Davis moved to the Bay Area after spending almost four years in Florence, Italy. She holds a MA from Marist College-Lorenzo de Medici in museum studies and a BA from Florida State University in humanities with a concentration in art history.
Rebecca Hisiger has been doing collections management, registration, and exhibitions coordination work for various institutions in the Bay Area for over 10 years. Her previous employers include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pixar Animation Studios, and the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology.
Shir recently received her PhD from the University of Leeds, UK. She holds a MA in The History of Business of Art and Collecting, from the Institute D’Etudes Superieures des Arts, Paris and the University of Warwick, UK and a second MA in Law Studies from the Bar Ilan University, Israel. Most recently, Shir worked as a Cultural Arts Director at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicone Valley and volunteered in the curatorial department of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.
Zoe Lewin is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, where she studied History of Art and Rhetoric, focusing on photography and public discourse respectively. In her free time Zoe loves to cook and bake, hike in the Bay Area, and check out exhibitions at galleries and museums. During her undergraduate career at UC Berkeley, Zoe worked at The Magnes from Fall 2013 to Spring 2016 as URAP student, taking in part in several research projects and exhibitions.