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Leonard Bernstein

The Museum was proud to offer free admission on Friday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm through August 24. Free Friday afternoons were part of a special initiative to make NMAJH accessible to all in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Humanities grant we received for Bernstein.

Click here to download the press release.
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When planning your visit, click here for special hours and closings.

Interested in booking a Group Visit? Click here to reserve a visit for a group of 15 or more.

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Past Bernstein-related programs at NMAJH included:  

3/01 Bernstein, Identity, and A Quiet Place

3/14 Members' Opening

3/23 Corporate Partners Breakfast and Tour

3/28 Members' Curator Tour

4/12 Young Friends Curated Cocktails

4/18 - 4/22 Jamie Bernstein Takeover 

5/17 Members' Curator Tour

6/3 For Lenny

 ...and more!


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Learn more about the worldwide celebration of #Bernsteinat100 at




March 16 - September 2, 2018

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music was on view at NMAJH March 16 - September 2, 2018.
The exhibition is now traveling.
To learn where it's going or to learn how to bring the exhibition to your community, click here.

To explore the virtual tour, click here.
Every image on this site is clickable! Click any photo to enlarge the image, read exhibition text, or explore an object more closely. Click the green plus sign to enlarge an artifact. Click the red “i” sign to enlarge a label. Hear from Ivy Weingram, Curator of Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music through video clips.

The virtual tour of Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music was made possible through the generous support of George S. Blumenthal.

Celebrate the centennial birthday of one of the greatest composers and conductors
of the 20th century.

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music is the first large-scale museum exhibition to illustrate Leonard Bernstein’s life, Jewish identity, and social activism. Audiences may be familiar with many of Bernstein’s works, notably West Side Story, but not necessarily with how he responded to the political and social crises of his day. Visitors will find an individual who expressed the restlessness, anxiety, fear, and hope of an American Jew living through World War II and the Holocaust, Vietnam, and turbulent social change—what Bernstein referred to as his “search for a solution to the 20th‐century crisis of faith.”

The exhibition explores his Jewish identity and social activism in the context of his position as an American conductor and his works as a composer. It features interactive media and sound installations along approximately 100 historic artifacts, including Bernstein’s piano, marked-up scores, conducting suit, annotated copy of Romeo and Juliet used for the development of West Side Story, personal family Judaica, composing easel, and a number of objects from his studio.

 Click here for our Cantors Kit!
 (Tools for educators)


Leonard Bernstein artifacts

Header image: Leonard Bernstein, 1956. © Made available online with permission of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Friedman-Abeles, Billy Rose Theatre Collection. Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.

Images, Clockwise from Top Left: (1)Leonard Bernstein with his parents, Jennie and Samuel Bernstein, c. 1921 Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress; (2) Leonard Bernstein’s annotated Copy of Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1940. Ed. by George Kittredge. Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress. By permission of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc. (3) Courtesy of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc. (4) "Symphony No.3 Kaddish" written and conducted by Leonard Bernstein, 1963. National Museum of American Jewish History, Gift of Sylvia Stein. (5) Courtesy of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.
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    Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music has been made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Key support provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. Major support provided by The Asper Foundation; CHG Charitable Trust as recommended by Carole Haas Gravagno; The Harvey Goodstein Charitable Foundation; Lindy Communities; The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Family Foundation; and Cheryl and Philip Milstein. Additional support provided by Judith Creed and Robert Schwartz; Jill and Mark Fishman; Robert and Marjie Kargman; David G. and Sandra G. Marshall; Robin and Mark Rubenstein; and The Savitz Family Foundation. Special thanks to The Leonard Bernstein Office; the Bernstein Family; Jacobs Music; and the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, and USC Shoah Foundation. And with appreciation to Annette Y. Friedland; Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation; Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation; Eugene and Emily Grant; Ruth and Peter Laibson; and Laura and Mark Rosenthal.