The Museum of Jewish Heritage bills itself as “a living memorial to the Holocaust,” and this mission statement is reflected all throughout the facility. Visitors to the Museum of Jewish Heritage can examine historical documents, view video testimonies, listen to audio testimonies, and explore special exhibitions that tell the story of the Jewish people and their experiences during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Museum of Jewish Heritage History
Prominent civic leaders and New York City elected officials established the New York City Holocaust Memorial Commission in 1982 for the purpose of constructing a museum that would honor the memory of those victims and survivors. In the mid-1980s, a location in Battery Park City was chosen to be the site of this new museum, and ground broke on the project in 1994.
In 1997, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust first opened its doors to the public. Shortly thereafter, an eastern wing of the museum was constructed, adding approximately 80,000 square feet to the site. Perhaps the most striking architectural feature of the museum is the six-sided shape of the main building’s exterior. This design element was intentional, representing as it does the six million Jewish people who died during the Holocaust.
What’s at the Museum of Jewish Heritage
The permanent collection of the Museum of Jewish Heritage contains over 30,000 unique items. Featured among this remarkable collection are objects as wide-ranging in nature as textiles, toys, musical instruments, historical documents, family photographs, and heirloom candlesticks. The museum also possesses nearly 4,000 personal testimonies by Holocaust liberators and survivors.
Special temporary exhibitions are a hallmark of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. By their nature, these exhibitions are always changing, but recent displays have covered subjects such as Holocaust-era art, Auschwitz, the history of burned books, and the career of the artist Boris Lurie.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage is also home to LOX at Café Bergson. This well-regarded kosher restaurant serves classic Jewish fare created out of only the finest natural ingredients. Standout menu items include borscht, whitefish salad, bagel sandwiches, matzoh babka, blintzes, and Russian coffee cake. The setting is fantastic, too: LOX at Café Bergson looks out over the Hudson River, offering guests memorable views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage gift shop is worth a pop-in, too, as it sells a fine assortment of products. In addition to museum-themed accessories and souvenirs, the store carries a wide range of books, toys, clothing, home-décor merchandise, and more. There’s also a nice selection of ceremonial religious items.
Tips for Visiting the Museum of Jewish Heritage
- The Museum of Jewish Heritage is included on several money saving tourist passes including the New York Pass and NY Sightseeing Pass.
- Please note that no matter what any given day’s hours of operation are here at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, final admission to the attraction occurs each day 30 minute before the scheduled closing time.
- As much as there is to see and do inside the Museum of Jewish Heritage, build in some time during your visit to explore its grounds, too. The sculptor Andy Goldsworthy’s Garden of Stones, a living memorial garden, is located here, and it’s not to be missed.
- The Museum of Jewish Heritage hosts numerous programs and events throughout the year. From walking tours to conversations with artists to music concerts and beyond, there’s always something notable happening here. Be certain to consult the museum’s calendar of events before your visit in order to learn what’s going on when you plan to be in town.
- The Museum of Jewish Heritage provides discounted parking validation for two garages in the area: one located at 21 3rd Place (situated between Battery Place and South End Avenue), and another at 50 Battery Place. In order to claim this perk, make sure to take your parking ticket to the museum’s coat check.
- The Museum of Jewish Heritage is located very close to several other prominent landmarks, namely the Skyscraper Museum, the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and the many attractions of The Battery, including the Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty ferry departure points. You could design a special day of sightseeing by visiting several of these sites during one outing.
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