This summer, I worked as a student assistant for Yeshiva University Museum. The Museum and its staff are important contributors to the study and preservation of Jewish history. I had the opportunity to acquire insights into both the development of museum exhibitions and the professional world of those people devoted to the study of Jewish artifacts.
Yeshiva University Museum is currently preparing for an exhibition on Maimonides that will include rare manuscripts and objects from across the centuries. During the summer, I helped to prepare the exhibition catalogue for publication. This catalogue will include essays from various experts. Through this, I learned about the pieces that will be displayed in the exhibition, and I saw how they were obtained from widespread sources to create a cohesive narrative. I also learned about such issues as rights to artifacts, proper citation and credit, and how collections are organized. I am excited about this exhibition and its accompanying book, and I encourage everyone to check it out!
Through assisting Gabriel Goldstein, YUM's Interim Director and Chief Curator, with presentations for international conferences, I was able to see how the museum staff contribute their expertise to the wider world of research and museums. One of the presentations was about the development of exhibitions related to Judaica and Jewish history in American museums. There are so many places in the United States where one would not expect to find such exhibits, but in fact pay great tribute to the place of Jews in the artistic world. On your next vacation, you can check out the Judaic Art Gallery at the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Judaica collection, or the Magnes Collection at UC Berkeley. Or right here in NYC, there are so many options and opportunities—you can visit the Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El, the Museum at Eldridge Street, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Jewish Museum and, of course, Yeshiva University Museum.
Sheindl Berger ('24SCW) is a Student Assistant at YUM. She is a history major at YU's Stern College for Women. She has always loved visiting museums, where she reads every piece of text she can find, much to her family's chagrin.