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Magnes Collection of Jewish Art to move to Allston Way

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SEPTEMBER 28, 2011

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is being moved from its current home on Russell Street to a new location on 2121 Allston Way.

The museum, which was formerly located in a residential neighborhood on Russell, was bought by UC Berkeley in June 2010, and will be unveiled in a grand opening Jan. 22, 2012.

The partnership between the museum and the campus will make Jewish art and media more available to scholars and the public, in addition to accentuating the academic offerings of UC Berkeley, according to The Bancroft Library website.

The thousands of museum holdings will be transferred to the newly renovated building in Downtown Berkeley throughout the next few months. In the meantime, information and images concerning all collections is available on the Magnes online database, as well as the Magnes Flickr page.

Currently, rare books and the Western Jewish Americana archives are being integrated into UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library where they will make their new home, according to the library’s website. Not all of the items are currently available, but the website encourages those interested in viewing the collection to search UC Berkeley’s Library Catalog, OskiCat, to view information regarding the availability of these materials. Any pieces of the collection available now to the public can be found in the Bancroft Library reading room.

Remaining museum holdings will be available at the new location beginning in January, according to the Magnes website.

The building, which was renovated with the money raised from selling the former museum building on Russell, will serve as “a place to gather for exhibitions, lectures, performances and other events that foster community, learning, and growth,” according to the website.

The Magnes staff is currently working on cataloging all museum materials, developing exhibitions and programs for the museum and fundraising to support their new facility. The museum hopes to become fully operational in serving the public in the 2012 Spring semester following the January reopening.

Contact Geena Cova at 


SEPTEMBER 28, 2011