The Museum of the History of Polish Jews currently functions as a cultural and educational center with a rich cultural program, including temporary exhibitions, films, debates, workshops, performances, concerts, lectures and much more. The Core Exhibition, presenting the thousand-year history of Polish Jews, has been opened on October 28, 2014.
Formally founded in 2005 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, the City of Warsaw and the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Museum is an unique and unprecedented initiative, spanning many fields of research and drawing on the expertise of scholars and museum professionals from around the world.
Occupying around 4 000 sq m (ca. 43 000 sq ft), the Museum’s Core Exhibition will immerse visitors in the world of Polish Jews, from their arrival in Po-lin as traveling merchants in medieval times until today. The exhibition was developed by an international team of more than 120 scholars, working under the direction of Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett from New York University. It is being produced by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland thanks to the support of donors from all over the world. Each of the eight galleries will present a different chapter of the story of Polish Jews, enabling visitors to come into intimate contact with those who lived that story through images, artifacts, first-person accounts and interactive multimedia.
The Museum stands in what was once the heart of Jewish Warsaw – an area which the Nazis turned into the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. This significant location, coupled with the Museum’s proximity to the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, demanded extreme thoughtfulness on the part of the building’s designers, who carefully crafted a structure that has become a symbol of the new face of Warsaw. The design by the Finnish studio Lahdelma & Mahlamäki was selected in an international competition. In 2008, with the building still under construction, it received the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award (2008).