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Jewish Studies Research Guide

About Jewish Museums and Archives

Jewish museums and archives are products of what scholars define as modernity. These institutions were created at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries as a result of emerging interest in the documented and material history of Jewish communities, also described as the Jewish historical turn or turn to history. They were subjected to historical, literary, and ethnographic studies as much as they were created in order to preserve Jewish history and memory and support scholarly inquiry into the Jewish past.


The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum is located in Atlanta, Georgia. It actively collects materials pertaining to Jewish life in Atlanta and its archives welcome researchers. 

Other Jewish Museums in Georgia and the Southern U. S. include the Jewish Museum of Augusta, GA; the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in New Orleans; and the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami.

Notable are the the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina

The Museum at Eldridge Street is seated in the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue, built in 1887, in the Lower East Side, New York. Its online exhibitions explore wide ranging topics related to Jewish histories and cultures around the world.

The Berlin Jewish Museum was opened in 2001. It houses one of the foremost Jewish museum collections in Europe. Its online content reflects the diversity of its physical holdings.

First housed in the Jewish Theological Seminary's library, New York's Jewish Museum was founded in 1904 and relocated to the Warburg Mansion in the 1940s, which until today is the home of this pioneering art museum with an impressive collection part of it accessible online.

The ANU Museum in Tel Aviv was first opened as the Diaspora Museum in 1978. It was renovated, renamed, and reopened in 2021 showcasing the diversity of Jewish historical and cultural experiences of the past and the present. Its searchable databases are accessible in several languages online.

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem was established in 1965. It "houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. In nearly seventy years, thanks to a legacy of gifts and generous support from its circle of patrons worldwide, the Museum has built a far-ranging collection of nearly 500,000 objects, representing the full scope of world material culture." The museum organized the Information Center for Israeli Art and compiled a database of Israeli or Israel-based artists available here.

Emory University's Carlos Museum also has online exhibitions.

The Jewish Museums Project is a rich database of Jewish and Holocaust museums, recording Jewish archival and museum objects in non-Jewish collections as well. As of end of 2023, its directory links to 168 Jewish museums and Holocaust museums around the world, including 42 in the United States, 29 in Israel, and 17 in Germany. The directory highlights institutions in 41 countries and 27 American states. Publications related to Jewish museum projects are made available. It dedicates a page for Holocaust collections.


The Yivo Archives and Library was founded in Vilna in the 1920s and during World War II, a large portion of the collection was successfully repatriated to the United States, where the research and collecting program continued and continues today.

Jason Lustig's book Time to Gather: Archives and the Control of Jewish Culture (2022), is an important read on the establishment of Jewish archives in Germany, Israel, and the United States in the course of the twentieth century. In conjunction with his book, Jason Lustig developed a directory of Jewish archives all over the world.

The American Jewish Committee Archives is home to written and visual documents, oral histories, radio clips. It paints a vast landscape of the American (USA) Jewish experience from the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) perspective. Founded in 1906, in response to the pogrom in Kishinev in 1903, the AJC  describes itself as "the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people." 

"The oldest active Jewish library in the world," the Ets Haim Library or Libraria Montezinos was founded in 1616 in Amsterdam. It was one of the earliest institutions of the Portuguese Jewish community establishing itself in the Dutch city. The dowry society was created in the year prior and the founding document of the Jewish congregation Kahal Kadosh, created as a merger of three earlier communities, is dated in 1638. At the end of the 1880, the librarian David Montezinos donated his private collection to the library, which today bears his name. Renovated in 2011, the library "holds images and descriptions of the 560 Jewish manuscripts (47,000 folios)" and is open to the public. Some of these items, arranged topically, are made available online.

The Jewish Theological Seminary's digital collections, sampling its exceptional special collections, hold a unique assembly of materials of diverse formats and genres.

Private Collections on Public View

The Braginsky Collection was established by René Braginsky and includes three main subcollections: Jewish manuscripts, mostly in codex form, Jewish marriage contracts (kettubot), and Esther Scrolls.