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Curating Between Hope and Despair: Creating POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Sunday, February 19 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pmFree
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews aspires to be an agent of transformation that can move an entire society forward. Its mission is to recover the history of Polish Jews and transmit the legacy of the civilization they created to future generations. Winner of the 2016 European Museum of the Year Award, POLIN Museum features a multimedia narrative exhibition dedicated to the thousand-year history of Jewish life. The history of Polish Jews presented at POLIN Museum offers a golden opportunity to recover the historic diversity of Poland and foster dialogue in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect. This talk will take you into the exhibition and behind the scenes to reveal how the exhibition was created. It will conclude by posing several questions. Why was it so important to create this museum, which faces the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and stands on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto and prewar Jewish neighborhood? What accounts for its extraordinary success? What impact is it having? How is it addressing current crises? And, last but not least, what makes Jewish museums in Europe more urgent and often more interesting than Jewish museums elsewhere?
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University and Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw. Her books include Destination Museum: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage; Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki); They Called Me Mayer July: Painted and Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt); The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (with Jonathan Karp), and Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory (with Jeffrey Shandler). She was awarded the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Folklore Society, honored for lifetime achievement by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, received honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, University of Haifa, and Indiana University, the 2015 Marshall Sklare Award for her contribution to the social scientific study of Jewry, and was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and awarded the Dan David Prize. She has served on Advisory Boards for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum Vienna, Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, and as Vice-Chair of ICMEMO International Committee of Memorial Museums in Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes. She also advises on museum and exhibition projects in Lithuania, Belarus, Albania, Israel, New Zealand, and the United States.
CSP Partners: Beth Israel (San Diego, CA), Brotherhood Synagogue (Gramercy Park, NYC), Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Elkins Park, PA), Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, Shomrei Torah Synagogue (San Fernando Valley, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth David (Westminster, CA),Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Temple Emanuel (Newton, MA), Temple Judea of Laguna Woods, CA, The Boston Synagogue (Boston, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY), University Synagogue (Irvine, CA), Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA) & Walnut Street Synagogue (Chelsea, MA)