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Museum Musings

11.28.18 'The Art of Rube Goldberg'

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The Museum's current special exhibition, The Art of Rube Goldberg, has received some wonderful press coverage! The Washington Post calls it "entrancing." To read more of the exhibitions recent press coverage, visit our Press Room.


The first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Rube Goldberg's work since the Smithsonian's 1970 celebration of the artist, The Art of Rube Goldberg explores his varied career from his earliest published works and iconic Rube Goldberg machine invention drawings, to his Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoons, and more. Throughout his long career, Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) chronicled almost every salient aspect of modern American life. His work touched on everything from fashion and sports to gender, politics, and international affairs. This exhibition explores the artistry and wit that made Rube Goldberg one of the twentieth century's most celebrated and enduring cartoonists - and a household name.

We hope to see you at the Museum before the exhibition closes on January 21, 2019. To learn more about the exhibition, click here.

Rube Goldberg1  Rube Goldberg 2
Photos by Matthew Christopher Photography. 

11.1.18 #ToBigotryNoSanction

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Dear Museum Friends,

We at the National Museum of American Jewish History, like you, are deeply saddened and angered by the act of hatred and violence perpetrated on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27. We mourn the tragic loss of eleven people while they were engaged in one of the most basic freedoms that America has made possible for the Jewish community: observing their own religion. We must stand in solidarity with them as we condemn this horrific act.

At the Museum, we know that education is the strongest response to hate. Although our hearts are broken – and perhaps because they are broken – we respond by rededicating ourselves to our educational mission, working to inspire people of all backgrounds to understand and appreciate the values of heritage and identity through active engagement with stories of American Jewish life that we tell in our Museum every day.

I would like to evoke George Washington’s beautiful letter about religious freedom to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, RI in 1790, on view at the Museum, in which he vows that “our Government gives to bigotry no sanction to persecution, no assistance.” And, quoting the Hebrew Bible, also writes, “everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

These promises, made to the Jewish community more than 200 years ago, underscore the ideals of pluralism on which this nation was founded and are part of the fabric of our Museum. They have become a mantra for us over the past few days. Washington’s words remind us that we must be vigilant: the freedoms to which all Americans aspire must not be taken for granted and we must constantly work to attain and sustain the freedoms defined in these founding principles.

May we strive to make Washington’s vow a reality in our own time. We invite you to show your support on social media with #ToBigotryNoSanction.

In true Jewish fashion, we will rejoice through our tears, and celebrate together with extra vigor the accomplishments and contributions of the American Jewish community.

Wishing you strength and comfort,

Ivy L. Barsky
CEO and Gwen Goodman Director