About the Collections

Ongoing

About the Exhibition

The Skirball Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Jewish ceremonial art, ritual objects, and material culture. The collections include some 25,000 pieces, ranging from the ancient to the contemporary, which together reflect Jewish life in many different eras and parts 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.
 

Please direct your inquiries and requests to the appropriate email below.

Acquisitions: acquisitions@skirball.org
Rights and reproductions: reproductions@skirball.org
Outgoing loans: museum@skirball.org