Browser does not support script.
Serving & connecting
Your Jewish Museum is a collaboration with the Department of Theology & Religious Studies and the Jewish Museum London and is supported by the university's Culture team.
From January to December 2015, the Jewish Museum London hosted a series of three crowd-sourced exhibitions in collaboration with the university's Culture team and Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s College London.
Collectively titled Your Jewish Museum, these exhibitions transformed the museum’s newly refitted Welcome Gallery into a collaborative space, displaying objects lent by the public alongside treasures from the museum’s own collection.
Museums often treat visitors as passive consumers of knowledge. This exhibition programme enabled visitors to share their possessions, and – equally importantly – their stories. Placing personal effects and creations alongside historic objects allowed both to take on new meanings. Everyday objects accrued a different significance for lenders when reverently displayed in the museum. For their part, museum artifacts recovered personal associations, reminding visitors that long before they belonged to museums, they were an intimate part of people’s lives.
In each of the shows – based on the themes of love, journeys, and sacrifice – the testimonies that accompanied these objects proved just as important as the pieces themselves. Visitors were touched by the intimate stories people revealed, which at times proved humorous, and at others tragic. Perhaps the single greatest tribute to the exhibition was the number of people, especially non-Jews, who came to the museum for the first time to see these exhibitions. By displaying objects from people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, these exhibitions created new relationships, binding the museum more closely to the wider community it serves.
The exhibition emphasised the appetite of students at all levels to combine their traditional classroom learning with studies and practical opportunities in cultural institutions, beyond simply doing summer internships. The exhibition programme created an excellent opportunity for MA students from ‘Christianity and the Arts’ to undertake curatorial internships at the Jewish Museum London. Dr Rosen led BA and MA classes and conducted a LAHP career development seminar in the exhibition space. Responses and other visitor data has informed Rosie Parker’s PhD thesis.
Jewish Museum London, Welcome GalleryTuesday 20 January – Sunday 19 April 2015
Love was the Jewish Museum’s first installment in a series of three crowd-sourced exhibitions, collectively titled Your Jewish Museum. The objects in this exhibition explored love in various forms, from divine to fraternal, parental, and romantic. Yet the objects also spoke to one another in a language of love. For all the disparate religions, cultures, ages and experiences they represented, these objects coexisted in thoughtful, respectful camaraderie.
The exhibition was featured in various media:
BBC Radio 4: Midweek with Libby Purves (4 Feb 2015)
Prospect Magazine: Jewish Museum shows the power of love (19 Feb 2015)
Guardian: Jewish Museum in London spreads the love with crowdsourced exhibition (23 January 2015)
Jewish Museum London, Welcome GalleryTuesday 26 May – Friday 11 September 2015
Journeys was the Jewish Museum’s second installment in a series of three crowd-sourced exhibitions, collectively titled Your Jewish Museum. This exhibition explored the theme of journeys ranging from geographical migrations to spiritual and emotional transformations. The intimate testimonies that accompanied these objects were just as important as the pieces themselves. There was pain in some of these stories – born from the loss of homelands and loved ones – but there was also beauty and celebration.
London is a city full of immigrants, and always has been. During times of plague, only a steady stream of new arrivals kept the city growing. More recently, Jewish, Irish, Caribbean, Bengali, and Polish immigrants – among many others – have made modern London the diverse, creative place it is today. Whether visitors crossed time zones or underground zones to get to this exhibition, it always offered a place, above all, for sharing stories.
Jewish Museum London, Welcome GalleryWednesday 16 September – Thursday 3 December 2015
Sacrifice was the Jewish Museum’s third installment in a series of three crowd-sourced exhibitions, collectively titled Your Jewish Museum. The theme of sacrifice was a difficult, perhaps even uncomfortable one. At times, sacrifices can be violent and selfish. Yet they can also be loving and generous. Human history – especially religious history – has seen its fill of both.
Without forgetting our demons, the objects and artworks in this exhibition sought to direct us toward our better angels. There were memories of everyday sacrifices of time, money, and energy, as well as exceptional sacrifices of freedom and life. There was a powerful irony at play in this exhibition. These objects were carefully selected, collected, and preserved. But while they reminded us of what we hold on to, they revealed just as much about what we are willing to give up.
Sacrifice also featured in the media:
BBC Radio 4: Sunday with Edward Stourton (1 Nov 2015)
Dr Aaron Rosen is the Lecturer in Sacred Traditions & the Arts at King’s College London. He previously taught at Yale, Oxford, and Columbia Universities, after receiving his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Imagining Jewish Art (Legenda, 2009) and Art and Religion in the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson, 2015), named one of the best books of 2015 by The Times. He is the editor of Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan (Ashgate, 2015) and co-editor of Visualising a Sacred City: London, Art and Religion (I.B. Tauris, forthcoming 2017). He also curated Stations of the Cross in venues across London including the National Gallery and St. Paul’s Cathedral (2016).
Joanne Rosenthal is Curator of Exhibitions and Projects at Jewish Museum London and sits on the Board of the Association of European Jewish Museums. She has curated and co-curated major shows including: Four Four Jew: Football, Fans and Faith; Designing the 20th Century: Life and Work of Abram Games; and Blood: Uniting and Dividing.
Dr Carolyn Rosen received her MA and MSt from the University of Oxford, followed by a PhD on French theatre from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is currently training for ordination as an Anglican priest at Westcott House, Cambridge. She is especially interested in interfaith initiatives and community engagement.
Rosalind Parker is a researcher-practitioner in the area of religion and the arts. She received her MA and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and is currently completing a PhD in theology at King’s College London, funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership. As a freelance curator, Rosalind has worked with the Women’s Interfaith Network, 3FF, and the Duke – Cambridge Divinity Exchange. She was artistic director for Ulfah Arts and Media, and has been assistant director and director for several major opera productions.
Lauren Hart has a BA in Biblical Studies from the University of Sheffield and an MA in Christianity and the Arts from King’s College London and currently works in the arts in London.
Email the Culture team
Sign up to the newsletter