National Museum of American Jewish History

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National Museum of American Jewish History

Established in 1976, this museum in 2011 moved to a new, $150-million, contemporary building on a high-profile corner near Independence Hall. The 100,000-square-foot facility, via multimedia displays, historic objects, and ephemera, traces the history of American Jews from 1654 to the present. Highlights include "Only in America," a showcase of the accomplishments of 18 famed Jewish Americans, including polio-vaccine inventor Jonas Salk, actress-singer-director Barbra Streisand, and Broadway composer Irving Berlin; a three-level timeline covering everything from immigration, the formation of Israel, and the civil rights movement to the westward migration, suburban life, and Seinfeld; a Contemporary Issues Forum, where you can share your views on various issues on Post-it-style notes that are scanned electronically and displayed; and "It's Your Story," where you can record clips about your family history. The museum's exterior offers two contrasting sculptures symbolizing how American Jewish history is intertwined with the nation's story: one is a 19th-century marble monument dubbed Religious Liberty; the other, an LED torch atop the corner of the facility's glass facade.


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