Finally, the day has arrived. A day of celebration. The Judaic Art Gallery, closed since February, has reopened in a roomier, sky-lit space with new glass cases, featuring more objects and deeper interpretation.
The goal of this five-month-long project was not only to accommodate an expanded collection of Jewish ceremonial art but to set the stage for years of future growth. The Judaic Art Gallery now encompasses 1,728 square feet—an increase of 50 percent. The entire space was reimagined by the Museum’s curators and designers.
Five of the display cases were replaced by larger custom-made glass cases, designed for beauty and flexibility of presentation, enhanced security, and an optimum environment for precious metals. (High-tech conservation materials concealed inside each case reduce the humidity and corrosive particulates in the air, minimizing the need to polish the silver objects.)
The overall design of the gallery is elegant and flexible, permitting the display of more than 70 objects, including 12 borrowed from the encyclopedic collection of the Jewish Museum in New York. The gallery is now divided by gossamer fabric panels into three rooms, beginning with an introductory room featuring some of the larger and more sculptural objects in the collection.
The second room displays objects related to the observance of the Sabbath and holidays, the home, and the Jewish life cycle. The final room presents objects made for the synagogue and to honor the Torah.
The gallery design also incorporates a fuller interpretive program for the objects, developed by the curators, Museum educators, and outside consultants. It provides a deeper context for appreciating each object.
Now reopened, the new and improved Judaic Art Gallery offers visitors the rare opportunity to explore the diverse artistic heritage of the Jewish people through memorable works of ceremonial art.
Iranian, Bridal Belt, probably 19th century, silver: filigree, partly gilded, 29 1/8 x 1 1/2 in., Gift of Elizabeth F. Gervais-Gruen in honor of the marriage of her son Robert A. Gruen