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 from Tuesday through Friday, 11am-4pm, and on evenings and weekends during public events (see events calendar for details). 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. For further information about collection access, consult the Collection Services Page of this website.

The Magnes will be closed beginning June 25th.  
Come see our new exhibits in the fall.

The Invisible Museum: History and Memory of Morocco

On View: 
Aug 29, 2017 to Jun 29, 2018

Since its inception in 1962, the former Judah L. Magnes Museum distinguished itself by directing its collecting efforts outside the focus on European Jewish culture and history that was prevalent among American Jewish museums at the time. During the 1970s and 1980s, its founders, Seymour and Rebecca Fromer, actively corralled an informal team of activist collectors and supporters. Together, they were able to bring to Berkeley art and material culture from North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.

Sketching "Fiddler": Set Designs by Mentor Huebner

On View: 
Aug 29, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017

The holdings of The Magnes include a set of original and working copies of sketches and storyboard drawings created by Mentor Huebner for the 1971 feature film, Fiddler on the Roof, along with a small selection of set photographs. The film, directed by Norman Jewison, starred Chaim Topol in the title role, and was based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem (born Shalom Rabinovitz, 1859–1916), a founder of modern Yiddish literature.

From the Photographer’s Archive: Roman Vishniac

On View: 
Jan 24, 2017 to Jun 23, 2017

The work of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born photographer most notable for documenting eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust, has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. Following the photographer's death, his daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn, became the executor of Roman Vishniac’s estate. In 2007, the Roman Vishniac Archive was established at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Its collections comprise over thirty thousand objects spanning more than six decades, and include more than nine thousand unprinted negatives, recently discovered vintage photographic prints, film footage, and personal correspondence.

The Power of Attention: Magic & Meditation in Hebrew "shiviti" Manuscript Art

On View: 
Jan 24, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017

Created from the early-modern period and into the present, shiviti manuscripts are found in Hebrew prayer books, ritual textiles, and on the walls of synagogues and homes throughout the Jewish diaspora. Wrestling with ways to externalize the presence of God in Jewish life, these documents center upon the graphic representation of God's ineffable four-letter Hebrew name, the Tetragrammaton, and associate it with words and imageries that evoke mystical powers, protective energy, and angels, as well as key places and characters in Biblical and Jewish history. 

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

On View: 
Aug 30, 2016 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.