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Since its founding in 1977 under the auspices of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) has strengthened the Jewish museum field in North America by training museum staff and volunteers, advocating on behalf of Jewish museums, fostering a collegial network, and serving as a nexus for information exchange.
CAJM assists its member institutions in becoming viable, responsible, not-for-profit organizations; welcoming community gathering places; and settings for dynamic programs that spark curiosity about Jewish history and culture in people of all ages and backgrounds.
CAJM offers an annual conference, cooperative programs, a website, publications, and direct access to professional development opportunities -- whether the focus is on new funding initiatives, challenging ethical and legal issues, or exemplary professional practice in Jewish museums.
CAJM’s institutional members include cultural organizations both large and small – in bustling urban centers, far-flung rural areas, and most of the places in between. They include Jewish art and history museums, historic sites, historical and archival societies, Holocaust centers, synagogue museums, children’s museums, community centers, and university galleries. Thirty years ago, CAJM began with a mere seven members. Today approximately 80 museums have joined our ranks.
CAJM’s individual members include Jewish museum professionals, docents, volunteers, board members, patrons, independent consultants, educators, scholars, donors, and other museum staff and professionals in related fields. Our affiliate members include international Jewish museums and counterpart institutions beyond the United States and Canada, as well as organizations and corporations not eligible to become Institutional Members.
About Jewish Museums
Jewish museums – and counterpart cultural institutions without “museum” in their names – offer programs and exhibits on Jewish art, culture and history while stimulating interest and motivating learning in visitors. Often, the visitors to these museums are Jewish – but often they are not. Sometimes, the art and artifacts displayed within these museums are created by Jewish people, but sometimes they are not. Frequently, the people who work in these museums are Jewish, but just as frequently they are not.
Jewish museums are found throughout the world, and they vary greatly in style, size, content and approach. Because of the diversity, creativity and professionalism associated with Jewish museums, the Jewish museum field is on an exciting path of growth and vitality.