About The Magnes

About The Magnes Collection

In 2010 the Judah L. Magnes Museum became The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley. As one of the preeminent Jewish collections in the world, it provides accessible resources to scholars, students, and visitors. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about Jews in the Global Diaspora including the American West.

Founded in Berkeley in 1962 by Seymour and Rebecca Camhi Fromer, the former Judah L. Magnes Museum was one of the first Jewish museums in the United States. Reflecting the guiding concerns of American Jewry after the Holocaust, the museum focused on preserving the legacy of vanishing communities around the world.

The founding of the museum paralleled the establishment of Jewish studies as an academic field. The Magnes Collection joined UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science within the Division of Arts and Humanities. Along with Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies and the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, The Magnes is part of a robust center of Jewish research, scholarship, and teaching.

The Magnes Collection has continually expanded the canon of Jewish cultural history, integrating visual, musical and material cultures with traditional text-focused research. Learn more about the history of The Magnes.

The Magnes and the University

The Magnes is a part of the Division of Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Magnes Museum Foundation

The Magnes Museum Foundation promotes the well being of the Magnes Collection at the University of California, Berkeley. The Foundation holds an endowment on behalf of The Magnes Collection. It funds special projects and contributes annually to The Magnes Collection.

Scholarly Board of Advisors

The Scholarly Board of Advisors support a robust program of exhibitions and research.

Staff

The Magnes Collection has a professional staff noted for its engagement with students, researchers, and visitors.

Latest News

News about The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Learn about exhibitions, programs, events, and collection highlights.

Extended Hours on Thursday Evenings

Extended Hours on Thursday Evenings

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is thrilled to announce new extended hours on Thursday evenings designed to provide greater access to our community.  The galleries will be open during the University of California, Berkeley’s Spring 2023 semester...

Meet The Magnes Collection’s New Executive Director

Meet The Magnes Collection’s New Executive Director

Beginning December 12th, Hannah Weisman will become the first full-time Executive Director of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, bringing more than 20 years of experience in museum education and administration. Weisman most recently served as the Director...

A message from Faculty Director John Efron

A message from Faculty Director John Efron

Since its founding, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life has reflected a living and ever evolving tradition, broadening our understanding of Jewish history and identity in striking ways. Now is a wonderful time to donate to The Magnes. Longtime supporter...

Press Room

The Magnes welcomes inquiries from the press. For articles about collections and exhibitions, and other related inquiries, please contact Laura Bratt at lbratt@berkeley.edu.

Newsletters

The Magnes Collection’s “What’s On” e-newsletter provides up-to-date news about the collection, exhibitions, and programs.

Work with Us

The Magnes provides a number of ways in which scholars, students, and teachers may access resources related to Jewish art, culture, and life.

Memory Project

Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP)

Offering an opportunity to earn academic credit and gain experience in the arts

Volunteer at The Magnes

Volunteer

Help The Magnes bring our exciting exhibitions and programs to the community.

The Magnes Auditorium

Venue Rental

Beginning in January 2022, The Magnes will offer designated spaces available for private and corporate events, during and after public hours.

FAQ

What safety measures has The Magnes taken to decrease the risk of exposure to COVID-19?

The Magnes cares deeply about the health and safety of its visitors and staff. We have taken measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure to you, other visitors, and our staff. Nonetheless, COVID-19 is very contagious and there is an inherent risk of exposure in any public environment where people are present. Those visiting the museum do so at their own risk of exposure.

In order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure, The Magnes policies are in alignment with the City of Berkeley and the University of California to ensure the health and safety of all visitors and staff. Please review UC Berkeley Coronavirus information and guidance before you visit.

For the safety of our visitors and staff, we reserve the right to request that anyone who does not follow these protocols leave the building.

Kindly reschedule your visit if, in the 10 days leading up to your visit, you or anyone in your household has tested positive, experienced COVID-19 symptoms, or if you are unvaccinated and have come into close contact with anyone confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19. Symptoms include cough, fever or chills, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, stomach upset, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.

When are The Magnes galleries open?

The Magnes galleries are open during UC Berkeley's fall and spring semester on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:00am to 4:00pm. The galleries are closed during winter and summer break.  Admission is free.

Can I take public transportation to The Magnes?

The Downtown Berkeley BART station is located just around the block from The Magnes, on Shattuck Avenue between Allston Way and Addison Street.

The following bus lines stop in Downtown Berkeley:

AC Transit Bus lines including 6, 7, 18, 51B, 52, 65, 67, 79, 88, 800, 851, and F

Bear Transit: C, P, RFS

Where can I park?

Two- and four-hour metered street parking is available in downtown Berkeley and is payable by credit or debit card. Nearby paid parking garages include the Allston Way Parking Garage (between Shattuck and Milvia), the Oxford Parking Garage (on Kittredge west of Oxford), and the Center Street Garage (at 2025 Center Street, accessible from Center or Addison Streets).

Please note The Magnes cannot guarantee availability of parking and that many parking lots near campus are either unavailable or charge special event pricing during major campus events, including Cal athletic events. View the latest athletics schedule here.

Is the museum accessible by wheelchair?

The Magnes Collections’ front lobby, galleries, and auditorium are all accessible by wheelchair. When exiting the Magnes from the main lobby to the vestibule area individuals with wheelchairs may need to ask for assistance as this door is heavy and the button to open the door can be hard to access.

How do I gain access to the collection for research or other academic purposes?

Appointments with the Florence Helzel Collection Study to view select holdings for research or other academic or educational purposes may be made two weeks in advance of intended use.

For further information regarding collection access and use of the Florence Helzel Collection Study, refer to the Collection Services Page.

May I take photographs in the museum?

Still photography for noncommercial, personal use is permitted, unless otherwise noted in the galleries. The use of tripods and camera extension poles is prohibited.

How do I receive The Magnes Collection's What's On Newsletter?

To get up-to-date information about our upcoming programs and exhibitions, please sign up for our mailing list and receive our monthly newsletter sent right to your inbox.

Do you still have a question?

If you can’t find the answer to your question, you can always contact us.