Since its foundation in 1962, the Judah L. Magnes Museum made its institutional assets available to individuals and groups in the Bay Area and Beyond, and allowed them to create a host of satellite institutions, ranging from a full-fledged research center (the Western Jewish History Center) to focus groups devoted to specific endeavors, such as cultural programming (film, poetry, Holocaust remembrance, outreach) and historical preservation.
Each one of these institution constitutes an important chapter in the history of the Magnes, and many of them grew from the status of satellite institution to independent organization fully operating to this day.
The Annual International Jewish Video Competition started at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 1994, continuing each year until 1999.
The Commission for the Preservation of Pioneer Jewish Cemeteries and Landmarks was created under the sponsorship of the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 1963 for the purpose of preserving Jewish cemeteries from the Gold Rush areas of California.
"Begun in 1984, the Berkeley museum's volunteer-staffed Docent Outreach Program -- dubbed "the museum that comes to you" -- currently offers 15 different narrated shows, all but one with slides; each lasts between 30 and 45 minutes.
The Jewish-American Hall of Fame was established by Mel Wacks at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California in 1969, with the support and encouragement of Seymour Fromer, Director of the Magnes Museum. Limited edition medals are issued annually to commemorate the accomplishments of men and women in various fields, historic sites and events.
The John S. Sills Memorial Lecture was instituted in 1986 in memory of distinguished community leader John S. Sills by his widow, Louise Sills, to enable the Museum to bring leading scholars to the Bay Area public.
Lehrhaus Judaica is a non-denominational Jewish studies adult school offering courses to the general public. Its faculty is made up of local university professors, advanced Ph.D. students, rabbis, and other experienced educators, as well as visiting scholars from major universities in the U.S. and abroad.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) was conceived and founded by Deborah Kaufman in 1980. Her goal was to use cinema to spark a new and open discussion of politics and culture inside the Jewish community and to challenge Hollywood stereotypes of Jews in the public at large. Three institutions—the Judah L. Magnes Museum, the American Film Institute in Washington DC, and the UCLA Film Archives—supported the first Jewish Film Festival (1981), consisting of 10 independently produced documentary and fiction films from around the world.
The Magnes Museum Foundation is a Supporting Organization of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund and the Jewish Community Foundation. Its primary purpose is to perpetuate the legacy of the Judah L. Magnes Museum by supporting the programs and operations of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley.