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Magnes partners with U.C. Berkeley to preserve collection | j.

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An expanded catalog of Jewish life, history and culture,
this Author News and Views:
from music and art to rare books and archives, soon will
Free dental treatment for Israeli
be available at U.C. Berkeley.
children approved by Knesset
The Judah L. Magnes Museum’s 10,000-piece, preeminent collection will be The Art Scene:
under the university’s care and given a new name: the Magnes Collection of What if your favorite novelist
Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library. edited your newspaper? Readers
of Ha’aretz find out.
In the meantime, and while the library inventories the new surplus of Bay Area Homes
Get Floor Plans & Chai Life:
materials, the Magnes will unveil a revamped website in July, giving the Community Info Bay World Cup fever…at a Berkeley
public online access to the collection database, thousands of images and Area Distinctive New deli…and in Israel
the history of the Berkeley institution at http://www.magnes.org. Homes.
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“It’s been a long journey,” said Alla Efimova, the Magnes’ director and chief
curator. “It’s really a win-win situation and an elegant solution that makes
sense fiscally and culturally.” Find relief and
The relocation of the collection from Russell Street, where the Magnes has Therapy for
individuals and
been since 1966, is being made possible by gifts totaling $2.5 million over couples Experienced,
five years from local philanthropists Warren Hellman, Tad Taube and the caring, and effective
Koret Foundation. www.chanawilson.com

Taube called the “expanded vision” of the Magnes “wonderful [and]

important,” noting that digitizing the collection will “get a lot of younger people involved, broaden the
horizon of scholarly inquiry and round out the very diverse assets that this community already had in
those areas.”

Hellman, a former chairman of the museum, credited his participation in the historic move in part to a
familial commitment to his cousin, Frances Dinkelspiel, president of the Magnes board of directors. He
also carries a certain “loyalty and affection” for the museum, as his family is mentioned in the

“I couldn’t think of a reason not to do

it,” Hellman, who sponsors the free
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in
Golden Gate Park, said of his
contribution. “There’s a tremendous
overlap with the materials at the
Bancroft and Magnes. Putting the two
‘thangs’ together, as we say in the folk
music world, seemed to be great.”

The Magnes’ Western Jewish History

archives, the world’s largest collection of
letters, diaries, photographs and other
documents relating to Jewish settlement
in the West, will be housed in the
reading room of the Bancroft Library on
the U.C. Berkeley campus. Musical
Architect rendering of the renovated Magnes building on Allston Way manuscripts and sheet music will be

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Magnes partners with U.C. Berkeley to preserve collection | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California 6/25/10 1:02 PM

manuscripts and sheet music will be

photo/courtesy of pfau long architecture
located at the Jean Gray Hargrove Music

Support from additional Magnes donors will finance the renovation of a building at 2121 Allston Way,
in the heart of Berkeley’s arts and commerce district. The museum purchased the building, situated
two miles from the original site, in 1997 for more than $2 million. About $1.5 million is still needed to
complete the renovation fundraising campaign, Efimova said.

The 25,000-square-foot space will feature lecture and seminar rooms for visiting scholars and a state-
of-the-art exhibit space for the Magnes’ prints, paintings, photographs, costumes and ceremonial

The refurbished building is expected to open in August 2011, Efimova said. In the meantime, the
collection is being kept temporarily in off-site storage.

“We expect to have a very vibrant center that will tap into the resources already existing at U.C.
Berkeley,” she said. “I’m looking forward to opening the new building and collaborating with the
campus and community to create this new space and resource.”

As for the Magnes’ infrastructure, the key curatorial staff from the museum, including Efimova, will Mr Treasure Hunt
move over to the Allston site.
SF Bay Area Urban Adventures
Dinkelspiel will serve as one of two Magnes representatives on the Council of the Friends of the See the area in a new exciting
Bancroft Library, the library’s governing body. A second representative will be selected in the future. way!
The Magnes, a nonprofit entity, will convert to a supporting foundation under the tent of the Jewish Berkeley Ca Homes For Sale
Community Foundation of the East Bay. The Magnes will be the organization’s 11th supporting Easy Berkeley, CA MLS search.
foundation, according to Executive Director Lisa Tabak. See 1.4M Home Photos, Reduced
The foundation’s board also is set to include Mark Reisbaum, executive director of the S.F.-based ZipRealty.com/Berkeley_California
Jewish Community Endowment Fund, forming a Bay Area–wide partnership. Hellman is chairman of Jewish Tours in Israel
the S.F. endowment fund. Compare Prices on Jewish Tours
& Travel in Israel. Book & Save
The Magnes, founded in 1961 by Seymour Fromer (who died in October 2009), has faced challenges
at different points in its existence. www.goisrael.com

A January 2002 merger with the Jewish Museum San Francisco (now the Contemporary Jewish
Museum) proved unworkable and was dissolved. During the 13-month merger, the Magnes was
virtually stripped of its curatorial staff and closed for the summer of 2002; it did not reopen with
regular hours until October 2003. most popular rss feeds

Moreover, the Magnes has had difficulties selling itself as a must-see museum like San Francisco’s VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Board of
Museum of Modern Art or the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which includes the de Young and Supervisors meeting
Legion of Honor.
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“For most people, the word ‘museum’ brings certain connotations,” Efimova told j. in 2009. “Gift shop, Jerusalem
exhibits all the time, coat checks and catalogs. Although it did a lot of very interesting, innovative New address: Israel - More and
work in terms of exhibitions and programs, the Magnes was never able to fully [become] this kind of more Bay Area Jews are making
‘museum as destination.’ Because of its location in the shadow of a great research university, it’s not aliyah
in the middle of the tourist traffic.” S.F. supervisors put resolution
condemning Israel on hold
Taube, a longtime financial contributor to the Magnes, said the three primary benefactors — the Taube
Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, the Koret Foundation and Hellman — took those factors and Take note, single ladies: Mixing fun
others into consideration and opted to “explore other avenues to put a solid foundation under a world- with tradition is easier than you
class institution.” think
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That led to the idea of partnering with a university, Taube said, referencing the success of the merger
years ago between Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation and University of Southern California, known
now as the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.

Once the Allston Way building renovation is complete, the core Magnes collections will be more
available to the public than ever before, according to Charles Faulhaber, director of Bancroft’s rare
books and special collections library.

“This is the best of both worlds — a new and revitalized Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life as in
integral part of the Bancroft, and a prominent physical and programmatic presence at the heart of the
Berkeley arts district,” Faulhaber said. “What’s not to like?”


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