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Curating Between Hope and Despair: Creating the Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Hosted By: Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP)

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews aspires to be an agent of transformation that can move an entire society forward. Its mission is to recover the history of Polish Jews and transmit the legacy of the civilization they created to future generations.

Winner of the 2016 European Museum of the Year Award, POLIN Museum features a multimedia narrative exhibition dedicated to the thousand-year history of Jewish life. The history of Polish Jews presented at POLIN Museum offers a golden opportunity to recover the historic diversity of Poland and foster dialogue in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect. This talk will take you into the exhibition and behind the scenes to reveal how the exhibition was created. It will conclude by posing several questions. Why was it so important to create this museum, which faces the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and stands on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto and prewar Jewish neighborhood? What accounts for its extraordinary success? What impact is it having? How is it addressing current crises? And, last but not least, what makes Jewish museums in Europe more urgent and often more interesting than Jewish museums elsewhere? 

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