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Jewish Museum London Hosts International Conference

Jewish Museum AEJM Conference

The Jewish Museum London has hosted the UK’s first conference for the Association of European Jewish Museums (AEJM), bringing together Jewish Museum professionals from across Europe, with 100 delegates from museums ranging from Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam to Brazil, Sweden, Russia and the Ukraine.

The conference theme for 2011 was Jewish Museums in Europe: Interpreting Collections, Engaging Audiences, with particular focus on how institutions can develop relevant cross-faith learning programmes and displays to reach out to diverse audiences, using the newly reopened Jewish Museum London as a case study. 53 international institutions were represented over a four-day period from 19 to 23 November.

Rickie Burman, Director of the Jewish Museum London and outgoing President of the AEJM says: “This is the first time the AEJM conference has been held in the UK, and it is a tremendous honour for us to host such a distinguished list of international delegates from world-renowned institutions.”

“The conference is a fantastic opportunity for Jewish Museums, both large and small, established and emerging, to come together and discuss common issues and challenges that face Jewish Museums, as well as to draw inspiration from new projects such as our museum here in London.”

The programme saw keynotes from historian Professor David Cesarani and international cultural commentator Professor Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, who raised challenging issues in her lecture Why do Jewish Museums Matter?

Outbreak sessions and workshops also looked at pressing subjects such as the future of digitising museum collections, how objects can, and should, be used in teaching the curriculum, how museums can build intercultural dialogues with young people (helping to dispel stereotypes and prejudice), and discussions were also held concerning an upcoming World War I exhibition, in advance of its centenary in 2014.

Delegates were also taken to key Jewish landmarks in the capital, including the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the Westminster Synagogue, the British Library and the Freud Museum.

Rickie Burman concludes: “This conference has been a real success – a superb forum for colleagues from across Europe to network and share creative, museological and academic ideas. It has been very gratifying to welcome so many colleagues into our new Museum for the first time and to receive such enthusiastic feedback on our galleries, which integrate personal stories and hands-on displays to engage visitors of different ages and backgrounds. Their kind words about our collections, displays and learning programmes, as well as the time spent talking with our staff and volunteers has been warmly received by the whole team at the Museum.

“I’ve now completed my tenure as President of the AEJM, and am standing down after six years on the Board; during this time we’ve seen considerable expansion of the network to include more Eastern European museums and a concerted effort in improving professional development opportunities to meet the needs of European Jewish museums. I would like to congratulate my successor Dr. Hanno Loewy on his election as President, and look forward to working with him closely in the AEJM’s next stage.”

The Association of European Jewish Museums aims to promote cooperation and communication between Jewish Museums in Europe and to assist members in meeting the challenges facing Jewish museums today. It encourages the exchange of information and ideas among European Jewish museums, provides training and learning opportunities and promotes mutual support and cooperation in a wide range of areas.

For more information contact Jessica Hope on 0207 284 7384 or jessica.hope@jewishmuseum.org.uk

Thursday 1st December, 2011

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