FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MAGNES 

This page is designed to provide quick, clear, basic information about the transfer of the former Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley, the creation The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, and its assets, holdings and resources to visitors and scholars. 

Click on any of the questions listed below to navigate directly to its answer. If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us


  1. What happened to the Judah L. Magnes Museum?
  2. Who owns the Magnes Collection now?
  3. What is the Magnes Museum Foundation?
  4. Where is the Collection?
  5. Where are the archival collections of the Western Jewish History Center?
  6. What happened to the old Magnes building, on Russell street (Berkeley)?
  7. What happens in the new Magnes building?
  8. When are you open to the public?
  9. Can I come and do research at the Magnes? Can my institution borrow items for an exhibition and can I obtain permission to use images from the collection for exhibition or publication purposes?
  10. Will the holdings of the Magnes ultimately be disseminated across the UC Campus? Where can I find them, and how can I have access to them?
  11. What is the Magnes staff working on?
  12. Are you still acquiring for the Collection?
  13. Who is working at the Magnes?
  14. How can I help?

What happened to the Judah L. Magnes Museum?

In June of 2010, the Board of Directors of the Judah L. Magnes Museum transferred the ownership of the museum's collections to the University of California, Berkeley, creating a new entity in partnership with the university: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, a unit of the The Bancroft Library. The partnership between a a world-class collection and a world-class university complements the school’s academic offerings, raising the profile of the Magnes collection, and making it more accessible to visitors and scholars. 

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Who owns the Magnes Collection now?

The collection of the former Judah L. Magnes Museum is now the property of the University of California, Berkeley. 

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What is the Magnes Museum Foundation?

After the transfer of its collections to UC Berkeley in 2010, the former Judah L. Magnes Museum's financial assets became the Magnes Museum Foundation, a Supporting Organization of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund and the Jewish Community Foundation. Its primary purpose is to perpetuate the legacy of the Judah L. Magnes Museum by supporting the programs and operations of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. 

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Where is the Collection?

The museum collections are in our new facility, located at 2121 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley.The rare books and the Western Jewish Americana archives are being processed into The Bancroft Library. 

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Where are the archival collections of the Western Jewish History Center?

The Western Jewish Americana archives (formerly the Western Jewish History Center of the Judah L. Magnes Museum) were moved to the processing facility of The Bancroft Library in 2010. These collections are currently being processed and organized, and are becoming available through The Bancroft Library. A list of processed collections is available at this link. A dedicated page lists collections currently available to researchers. 

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What happened to the old Magnes building, on Russell street (Berkeley)?

The building was sold by the Magnes Museum Foundation to support the renovation of the new facility, located at 2121 Allston Way, in downtown Berkeley. 

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What happens in the new Magnes building?

The Magnes's current home in downtown Berkeley offers the general public a place to gather for exhibitions, lectures, performances and other events that foster community, learning, and growth. In the fall of 2012, it will accommodate deep research. 

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When are you be open to the public?

Our regular gallery hours from late August through the end of June are Tuesday - Friday, 11am-4pm. 

Check our calendar for upcoming events and exhibitions. 

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Can I come and do research at the Magnes? Can my institution borrow items for an exhibition and can I obtain permission to use images from the collection?

Magnes collections reside in two physical locations:  The Magnes building at 2121 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley, and The Bancroft Library on the UC Berkeley campus.  Appointments may be made to access collections housed in The Magnes Building for research or teaching two weeks in advance of intended use.  For specific policies and procedures regarding collection access, refer to the Collection Services page.

For information regarding use of Magnes holdings housed in The Bancroft Library, consult the library's general information page.

 

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Will the holdings of the Magnes ultimately be disseminated across the UC Campus? Where can I find them, and how can I have access to them? 

Once the move to the new facility is completed, there will be two access points to the collection: 

  • The museum holdings will be displayed for visitors, and made accessible to researchers by appointment at the new facility, at 2121 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley (near Campus and Downtown Berkeley BART)
  • The Western Jewish Americana archives are accessible to researchers at The Bancroft Library

Information about access to all collections, regardless of their physical location, will be available through the Magnes website, the Magnes online database, and UC Berkeley's library catalog, OskiCat

The curatorial and reference staff of the Magnes will be able to provide up-to-date information about all collections and their accessibility, regardless of their physical location, by answering queries submitted through our online research information request form

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What is the Magnes staff working on?

We are keeping quite busy:

  • We are processing the Western Jewish Americana archives for public access via UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library
  • We are cataloging the museum holdings for access in our new facility
  • We are presenting exhibitions and programs on the UC Campus
  • We maintain an active online presence, through this website and a variety of social media – Please follow us on facebook!
  • We are increasing our holdings through gifts and acquisitions
  • We are actively fundraising to support the collection and its uses by scholars and visitors

You can learn more by reading our newsletter

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Are you still acquiring for the Collection?

Yes, and at this time of transition, we are doing so slowly and carefully, in order to pay full attention to the development of our new facility. An updated collecting plan was completed in 2011, outlining all collecting priorities.  If you wish to donate items to the collection, please visit this page.

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Who is working at the Magnes?

We are a small team of scholars, curators, archives, library and museum professionals. You can read our profiles here

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How can we help?

Please visit our exhibitions, attend our public programs, and join the Friends of the Magnes, our annual campaign!  

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