Welcome to the Magnes!

The Magnes is closed for Winter Break from December 15, 2018-January 28, 2019. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

Exhibitions, Programs, and 15,000 Objects from Around the World

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010 following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West. As one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting, it provides highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general public

Memory Objects: Judaica Collections and Global Migrations

On View: 
Feb 26, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019

The First World War (1914-1918) uprooted millions across Europe, and beyond. Many Jews left Eastern and Southern Europe, bringing with them prized personal and communal belongings. In an attempt to rescue precious heritage from imminent destruction, these “memory objects” often ended up with museums, collectors, and art dealers in the West.

Pièces de Résistance: Echoes of Judaea Capta From Ancient Coins to Modern Art

On View: 
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018
Jan 29, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019

Notions of resistance, alongside fears and realities of oppression, resound throughout Jewish history. As a minority, Jews express their political aspirations, ideals of heroism, and yearnings of retaliation and redemption in their rituals, art, and everyday life.

Centering on coins in The Magnes Collection, this exhibition explores how the Jewish revolts against Hellenism and the Roman occupation of Palestine (Judaea Capta) echo from antiquity into the present.

Project “Holy Land”: Yaakov Benor-Kalter’s Photographs of British Mandate Palestine, 1923-1940

On View: 
Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018
Jan 29, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019

For nearly two decades, Yaakov (Jacob) Benor-Kalter (1897-1969) traversed the Old City of Jerusalem, documenting renowned historical monuments, ambiguous subjects in familiar alleyways, and scores of “new Jews” building a new homeland. Benor-Kalter’s photographs smoothly oscillate between two worlds, and two Holy Lands, with one lens.

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Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2016

I am delighted to share the wonderfully insightful reflection and writing of Isabel (Issy) Steckel (Wesleyan, 2019), this summer’s Social Media intern at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Issy, a Bay Area native, interested in all things art, Italy, and Jewish studies, dove in, head first to her position as Social Media intern. Her knowledge and expertise only served to garner more publicity for The Magnes, and to bolster our social media presence, tripling our follower count on Instagram.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Over the course of this year, our Magnes Graduate Fellow, Yosef Rosen, in collaboration with our former Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) student, Zoe Lewin, worked extensively with The Magnes’s shiviti manuscript collection.

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016

I am delighted to share an essay by Lauren Cooper. Lauren, who is graduating from UC Berkeley this Spring, with a Major in Comparative Literature, and Minors in Spanish and History, has been involved with Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) that I direct at The Magnes for the last two years.

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015

Carla Shapreau, a faculty member at Berkeley Law whose research involves the Nazi-era plunder of musical cultural property and the restitution of those possessions, a senior fellow in the Institute of European Studies and a curator at the Department of Music, as well as a member of the Magnes Working Group on Mapping Diasporas, is the recipient with two co-authors of this year’s Claude V.

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Greg Niemeyer is Associate Professor of Art Practice and the Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media (bcnm.berkeley.edu). Born in Switzerland in 1967, he studied photography and classics, and received his MFA from Stanford, where he founded the Digital Art Center.