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.

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

On View: 
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019
Jan 21, 2020 to May 29, 2020

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. As a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Broad concerns for human rights span Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, he exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish underground, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe since after the First World War. It is not superfluous to state how these very same concerns appear to be all too relevant in our times as well. 

An Archive of Archives: Roman Vishniac's Exhibition History | New York, 1971-72

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020

In 2018, The Magnes acquired the Roman Vishniac Archive thanks to an unprecedented gift by the late Mara Vishniac Kohn (1926-2018). The collection is comprised of thousands of original prints, negatives, and archival materials documenting the long international career of photographer Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born modernist photographer,most notable for documenting Eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust. Vishniac’s work has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. The gift represents one of the most important acquisitions by The Magnes since its founding in 1962, and one of inestimable value to UC Berkeley for insight and research into 20th century East European Jewry, and beyond. 

As this important collection is being painstakingly processed and documented, The Magnes is beginning to share new findings with the public. An archive of this magnitude is bound to reveal many discoveries, opening up new perspectives on the life and work of a globally recognized photographer, and allowing us to revisit some of the salient moments in his career. A veritable “archive of archives,” the collection also contains among its treasures substantial documentation of some of Vishniac's early exhibitions. 

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. As a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture to pair extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American War of Independence, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel.

Broad concerns for human rights span Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, he exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish underground, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe since after the First World War. It is not superfluous to state how these very same concerns appear to be all too relevant in our times as well.