A new, virtual Jewish Museum? A recognizably Jewish memory institution, one that seeks to preserve memory and fragile histories, and to attribute provenance and value to the objects, experiences and culture of the Jewish people, most often finds an architectural space where display and direct encounter with a collection is a given.
Here in this southernmost community of Jewish peoples in the world, what kind of new space could we create that would provide a place where Jews and non-Jews alike could explore the meaning and beauty of Jewish life, work and culture in New Zealand? Welcome to the new Jewish Online Museum.
Jewish experience in this country in many ways, mirrors that of other ‘new world’ countries. Immigration, acculturation, and assimilation have shaped new community and congregation in ways that are as diverse as its peoples. The desire to tell a story of Jewish experience and culture that was particular to New Zealand meant that we needed not just to tell the story of how Jewish people have died, but also how Jews live. Understanding Judaism in its most contemporary expression, as both a religion and the cultural heart of Jewish life, gave us the inspiration to make a museum that was as much about history as it was about contemporary Jewish culture.
The Jewish Online Museum (JoM) is our answer to the New Zealand Jewish community's location, so far distant from most of the rest of world Jewry, its key historical locations and its major communities and events. Envisioned by its curators and designers as an innovative virtual and interactive web-based educational resource, the JoM has the potential to work with an extended national, and international network of Jewish memory institutions and organisations to help to build a more informed context for the objects, stories and histories that represent Jewish lives here in New Zealand.
Our collection of stories, images and objects is growing, thanks to the many donations of friends in the New Zealand Jewish community and we hope to grow the work, educational programmes and exhibits of the museum over the coming years to reflect our uniquely Australasian and Pacific context and experience of New Zealand for a wider public of Jews and non-Jewish alike.
We welcome you to become a part of this journey.
For more information about the museum, please visit the About page at the top right hand side of the home page.