Exhibitions

The exhibitions of The Magnes highlight the treasures of one of the world’s preeminent Jewish museum collections. By combining museum practice, research, and instruction, they present to the public the results of engaging collaborative projects led by UC Berkeley faculty, students, visiting scholars, artists, and curators. Each exhibition is accompanied by programs connecting academic life and the public interest.

Galleries are open every week from Tuesday through Friday, 11am-4pm, and on evenings and weekends during public events. Entrance is free.

The annual exhibition schedule follows UC Berkeley's Academic Calendar, with openings in the Fall and Spring semesters of each year.


Please note that our galleries are closed during Winter and Summer Breaks. Check our Calendar for a detailed schedule. During gallery closure times, The Magnes remains open for research on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week (except during holiday curtailment time, Dec. 23-Jan. 2nd). For further information about collection access, consult the Collection Services Page of this website.

I-Tal-Yah: An Island of Divine Dew. Italian Crossroads in Jewish Culture

On View: 
Aug 30, 2016 to Dec 16, 2016
Jan 24, 2017 to Jun 23, 2017

Never before the creation of the State of Israel did Jews of so many origins live together, and in such a stimulating environment, as they did in the land they soon started calling in Hebrew i-tal-yah, an “Island of Divine Dew”.   

Stages of Identity

On View: 
Jan 26, 2016 to Jun 24, 2016

Among the most important components of The Magnes' pictorial holdings is a collection of nearly one thousand posters acquired worldwide since the 1960s. This diverse and fascinating group of works has been acquired via a broad network of paper and print collectors, purchased in museum stores, or simply taken off walls in the streets of cities around the world. Collectively, these materials represent an invaluable source of historical information.

Larger Than Life: Jonah and the Fish | Maftir Yonah by Mordechai Beck and David Moss

On View: 
Aug 27, 2015 to Dec 18, 2015

The Book of Jonah is the only prophetic book of the Hebrew Bible read in its entirety in the synagogue. Recited during the Afternoon Service on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jonah’s story addresses the relationship between man and God, destiny and free will, prayer and salvation.

The Future of Memory: Jewish Culture in the Digital Age

On View: 
Jan 27, 2015 to Dec 18, 2015

What should we remember, what should we forget, and who decides? 

The Future of Memory: Jewish Culture in the Digital Age is a new project of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life that includes an installation, exhibition, and digital research lab in which museum professionals, scholars, students, and the public, discuss the meaning of memory and the many facets of digital history.

The Secret Language of Flowers. Botanical Drawings from Israel, 1949-1950

On View: 
Jan 27, 2015 to Jun 26, 2015

In 1984, The Magnes acquired a portfolio of botanical drawings by Shmuel (Samuel) Lerner, a Ukraine-born amateur artist from California. While Lerner’s biography and many details surrounding this work remain obscure, today his drawings open for us a unique window into the landscape, the history and the languages of Israel in the period immediately following the establishment of the State.

Literary Minds. Soviet Jewish Writers portrayed by Matvey Vaisberg

On View: 
Aug 28, 2014 to Dec 19, 2014

In 2014, The Magnes acquired twelve works by the New York Times-featured Ukrainian artist, Matvey Vaisberg, including the portraits of eight Russian Jewish authors. 

Several of the authors portrayed by Vaisberg were Yiddish writers murdered by the Soviet regime on August 12, 1952: Itzik Feffer (1900-1952), Leib Kvitko (1890-1952), Peretz Markish (1895-1952), and David Hofstein (1889-1952). Other portraits include prominent writers such as Sh. Aleichem (1859-1916), O. Mandelstam (1891-1938), B. Pasternak (1890-1960), and J. Brodsky (1940-1996).