About the Collections

About the Exhibition

The mission of the Skirball Museum is to preserve and advance Jewish heritage in social and cultural context. Its collections of Judaica and Jewish material culture are among the world's largest. They include some 25,000 objects of art and history relating to daily life and practice, customs and values from biblical to contemporary times, reflecting Jewish life in virtually every era and every part of the world.

The Skirball's extensive collections include:

  • archaeological materials from biblical and later historical periods illuminating early Jewish life
  • Jewish ceremonial art and artifacts from ancient to modern times
  • the Project Americana collection, encompassing items that document the everyday life during three centuries of American Jewish life
  • graphics, paintings, sculptures, and other works in a variety of media

History of the Museum

The Skirball Museum is one of the oldest repositories of Jewish cultural artifacts in the United States. The first stage in its development lasted for nearly a century, beginning when Hebrew Union College (HUC) opened in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1875 and over time began accepting donations of Judaic objects and books. In 1913 the college's Union Museum was founded with the assistance of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, becoming the first formally established Jewish museum in the United States. In the 1920s the collections rapidly expanded with the purchase of several significant private collections of Judaica, including those of Salli Kirchstein, Joseph Hamburger, and Louis Grossman. In 1950, HUC merged with the Jewish Institute of Religion (JIR), and in 1972—with the Skirball Foundation providing initial support—the collection relocated to Los Angeles. In its new home at the HUC-JIR campus in Los Angeles, the now-renamed Skirball Museum became this city's first Jewish museum. It served a primarily Jewish and largely academic audience until it reopened in 1996 as the central component of the new Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where visitors of all ages and backgrounds experience its core exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America, as well as changing exhibitions on a wide variety of topics relating to the Skirball mission.

For information on the Skirball’s outgoing loan policy, as well as rights and reproductions, please e-mail your inquiry to museum@skirball.org.

Acquisition Proposals

The Skirball welcomes the opportunity to review works for acquisition and exhibition. Prior to submitting a proposal, please review the information above about the Skirball’s permanent collection in order to evaluate the suitability of the object(s) for acquisition.

Acquisition proposals should include the following information:

  • The complete name of the individual or organization that is submitting the proposal
  • A brief description of the object(s) proposed for acquisition
  • A thorough explanation of the object’s provenance
  • Is/Are the object(s) offered as a gift?
  • Are there available funds to support preservation, storage, and exhibition?
  • Images of the object(s) Digital files are accepted by e-mail.

Note: The Skirball cannot provide appraisals for tax purposes. Items must be evaluated by an independent appraiser.

Proposals are regularly reviewed by the Acquisitions Committee, and a response will generally be sent within two months of receipt. If you wish to have materials returned to you, please let us know when you submit the proposal and include a self-addressed envelope.

Please submit your acquisition proposal to:

Alexis Recto
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049-6833
arecto@skirball.org

Exhibition Proposals

The Skirball presents exhibitions that relate to the appreciation of Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals. The Museum is interested in projects that engage broad audiences and make a significant contribution to the humanities, public education, civic dialogue, and cross-cultural understanding.

Exhibition proposals should include the following information:

  • A brief description of the proposed exhibition, specifying the scope of the installation as planned and a suggested checklist of objects to be displayed. Please include a statement of how the exhibition relates to the Skirball’s mission.
  • For fine arts, please include an artist’s statement about the work and a curriculum vitae, as well as any relevant catalogues or articles.
  • Images of selected works to be included in the exhibition. Digital files are accepted by email.

Proposals are reviewed regularly by the Exhibitions Committee, and a response will generally be sent within two months of receipt. If you wish to have materials returned to you, please let us know when you submit the proposal and include a self-addressed envelope.

Please submit your exhibition proposal to:

Alexis Recto
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049-6833
arecto@skirball.org