B’nai B’rith International and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) announced a partnership to acquire, preserve and display the art and artifacts of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum at HUC-JIR’s Skirball Museum.
The Skirball Museum provides a vital cultural and educational outreach venue of its historic campus in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Significantly augmenting the Skirball’s holdings, the Klutznick’s sacred and secular fine and decorative arts and social documents will be exhibited in designated galleries as the “B’nai B’rith Klutznick Collection.”
Learn more about the partnership via media coverage from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, JBS and more:
Joseph B. Horwitz, who spent most of his life in Greater Cleveland, amassed a world-famous collection of Judaic art, much of it housed at the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C.
On May 18, it was announced that the art and artifacts donated to this museum by Horwitz and his wife, Olyn – longtime members of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood – will be exhibited in galleries at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Skirball Museum in Cincinnati as part of what will be called “the B’nai B’rith Klutznick Collection.”
The establishment of a new home for this art collection is due to a partnership between Washington-based B’nai B’rith International and HUC-JIR. A select group of Klutznick artifacts will also be loaned to the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington to be displayed in its new building, scheduled to open in 2020.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to display a collection that has not been available to the public for some time,” said Abby Schwartz, director of the Skirball Museum.
“Working closely with our colleagues in Washington, we hope to serve as a model for how communities can learn from a shared cultural and educational legacy.”
“For an outstanding art collection to be housed at Hebrew Union College is absolutely appropriate,” she said. “I think Hebrew Union College has some of the finest scholars in all areas of Judaic thought probably in the world. There’s a synergy there that’s very exciting.”
Schwartz said HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus is “a national institution with global impact in terms of preservation and outreach.”
“We look forward to making this supremely important collection of Judaica accessible to a broad audience through programs, exhibitions and a digital archive,” she said.
The Skirball was America’s first officially established Jewish museum, originally named the Union Museum.
The museum will collaborate with B’nai B’rith through online exhibitions and links disseminating information about the collection with other organizations, and the sponsoring of special programs and lectures.
B’nai B’rith transferred its archives to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, also located on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR.
The art and artifacts from the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum will have a new home at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Klutznick’s sacred and secular fine and decorative arts and social documents will be exhibited in galleries at HUC’s Skirball Museum designated as the B’nai B’rith Klutznick Collection, according to a statement issued Monday by HUC and B’nai B’rith.
In addition, a select group of Klutznick artifacts will be lent to the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington to be displayed in its new building, slated for opening in 2020.
The Skirball will collaborate with B’nai B’rith through online exhibitions and links disseminating information about the collection with other organizations, and the sponsoring of special programs and lectures.
“The acquisition of this historic collection creates unprecedented opportunities for community engagement on local, regional, national and international platforms,” Skirball director Abby Schwartz said in a statement. “Integrating this collection and making it accessible through digital technology will be a priority, as the Skirball positions itself as a center of Jewish art and culture.”
Over the next few weeks and months the staff at Hebrew Union College's Skirball Museum will be unboxing its newly acquired art collection. It contains 1,500 items including Rembrandt etchings, baseball memorabilia, and contemporary Israeli silver jewelry.
Many of the items originally came from the collection of a Cleveland man, Joseph Horvitz, who owned a steel company.
Eventually Skirball Museum Director Abby Schwartz would like to digitize the collection so more people can see it.
Council of American Jewish Museums Newsletter
BRINGING TWO GREAT COLLECTIONS TOGETHER
B'nai B'rith International and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) have announced an important partnership that will make available the collections of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum (BBKNJM) at HUC-JIR's Skirball Museum in Cincinnati.
Fine and decorative art and artifacts, both sacred and secular, will be exhibited in designated galleries at the Skirball, as well as in online exhibitions. Since the BBKNJM closed its doors in 2002, these materials have been largely unavailable to the public.
Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, HUC-JIR President, said, "This wonderful partnership with B'nai B'rith International ... reinforces our commitment to the many ways in which the visual arts, illuminating Jewish history, identity, values and experience, can serve as a vital educational and cultural resource for our students, faculty, and the larger public."
In addition, a select group of Klutznick artifacts with a DC focus will be loaned to the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington to be displayed in its new building, slated to open in 2020.
Museum staff will spend the next few years unpacking, photographing, cataloging and deciding how to display the collection’s 1,500 items.
The donation, from Washington, D.C.-based B’nai B’rith International, is triple the size of the Skirball’s existing collection of Jewish memorabilia, or Judaica, said Skirball director Abby Schwartz.
“This is a tipping point for us,” she said. “It will propel the museum to think about new ways to display the works we already have and integrate them with the new collection.”
She declined to say how much the collection is worth, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate. But Gila Naveh, head of the Judaic Studies Department at the University of Cincinnati, called it priceless.
“It’s a gem,” Naveh said. “It’s a world-famous collection.”
Once the new collection goes on public display – which isn’t expected to happen for a few years – Cincinnati will have one of the largest collections of Judaica in the Midwest.