The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum of San Francisco, located in the SoMa Yerba Buena District, houses fascinating and sometimes controversial exhibits on Jewish history and culture. The new San Francisco museum stays away from an artifact-based collection, defining itself as a multi-faceted art center where visitors can view Jewish cultural art and explore the issues and complexities affecting Jewish Americans today. While in San Francisco, the Jewish Museum is a must-see for every nationality to further an understanding and appreciation of Jewish life. (Sonja Pecavar)

The Museum and its Mission
Since its founding in 1984, the Contemporary Jewish Museum has engaged audiences of all ages and backgrounds through dynamic exhibitions and programs that explore contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. Throughout its history, the Museum has distinguished itself as a welcoming place where visitors can connect with one another through dialogue and shared experiences with the arts.

Photo by Mark Darley

In 1990, the success of the Museum prompted its leadership to plan for a more expansive facility to meet the growing interests of the local community. The Museum began formally exploring real estate options when the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (1994-1995) invited the Museum to develop the historic Jessie Street Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Power Substation, a 1907 landmark designed by architect Willis Polk, who remains extremely.

In 1998, the Museum selected architect Daniel Libeskind to design its new home. Envisioned as a dynamic and welcoming space, the new 63,000-square-foot facility was planned to be a place to experience art, music, film, literature, debate, and — most importantly — other people. Daniel Libeskind's design for the Museum does not simply house this programmatic vision; it enables and inspires it.

Grand Lobby. Photo by Bruce Damonte

Embracing a range of artistic disciplines and media, the Museum’s exhibition program includes contemporary art and historical objects, film and music, conversations, lectures, literary readings, and other live performance. Dynamic and ever-changing, the Contemporary Jewish Museum is a non-collecting institution that partners with national and international cultural institutions to present exhibitions that are both timely and relevant and that represent the highest level of artistic achievement and scholarship. At the heart of our programs is a focus on education and outreach to the broader community with the goal of fostering interfaith and intercultural dialogues.
The Museum officially opened the doors to its new building on June 8, 2008 with a community-wide celebration.

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