Jewish Museums

From Jewish Icons to Jewish Narratives

in European Judaism
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The first Jewish museums were established in the late nineteenth century. By then, museums were coming into vogue all over Europe, with encouragement from central and local government. Furthermore, while private collections of objects of art had existed for centuries, these collections were now entering the public domain. And, for the first time, this trend also applied to the collection of Jewish ritual objects. As Cohen (1998) notes, art patronage in the form of donations to public museums was a way of displaying patriotism while at the same time seeking legitimacy in society.