Wecome to the Magnes!

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010 following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West. As one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting, it provides highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general public

PopUp Exhibition Series: Spring 2017 Program

Each week, UC Berkeley faculty and graduate students, visiting artists and other notable guests will present brief lectures focused on selected treasures from the The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. One speaker and one object at a time, these “flash” exhibitions will include the opportunity to view the art and artifacts discussed intimately and up close.

From the Photographer’s Archive: Roman Vishniac

On View: 
Jan 24, 2017 to Jun 23, 2017

The work of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born photographer most notable for documenting eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust, has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. Following the photographer's death, his daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn, became the executor of Roman Vishniac’s estate. In 2007, the Roman Vishniac Archive was established at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Its collections comprise over thirty thousand objects spanning more than six decades, and include more than nine thousand unprinted negatives, recently discovered vintage photographic prints, film footage, and personal correspondence.

The Power of Attention: Magic & Meditation in Hebrew "shiviti" Manuscript Art

On View: 
Jan 24, 2017 to Jun 23, 2017

Created from the early-modern period and into the present, shiviti manuscripts are found in Hebrew prayer books, ritual textiles, and on the walls of synagogues and homes throughout the Jewish diaspora. Wrestling with ways to externalize the presence of God in Jewish life, these documents center upon the graphic representation of God's ineffable four-letter Hebrew name, the Tetragrammaton, and associate it with words and imageries that evoke mystical powers, protective energy, and angels, as well as key places and characters in Biblical and Jewish history.