JMM Insights: Building the Participatory Museum

Editing note: The Annual Meeting took place Thursday, May 20th. This edition of JMM Insights went out on the same day and the language reflects that date.


This week’s edition of JMM Insights comes from Executive Director Sol Davis.

Over the course of my first four months at the JMM, I have had many opportunities to speak about the participatory museum model that I embrace and bring to my museum work. I have spoken about the participatory model to synagogue groups, on The Associated’s Road to Resilience, and on WYPR

Tonight, at the JMM’s Annual Meeting, we will enact the participatory museum by bringing a range of voices and media into the presentation of our communal past, present, and dreams for the future. A participatory museum invites participation in all aspects of its work. It purposefully prioritizes partnerships and relationship building. It actively participates in the neighborhood where it exists. 

Rather than tell the past from a singular, authoritative perspective, the participatory museum actively seeks participation from across the expanse of the community to tell the history in intimate and inclusive ways. A participatory Jewish museum enriches the present by activating Jewish values through its work and providing a platform where Jewish arts and culture flourish. 

And while Jewish museums across the field are primarily focused on the past, I envision a Jewish museum that equally encourages deep, sustained and wild imagining of the Jewish future. What do we want Jewish communities to be and to hold 100 years from now? The JMM is committed to nurturing dreams about the Jewish future so that we can actively begin to build that future world now.

I hope that you will join us at tonight’s JMM Annual Meeting, where we will draw inspiration from our past, reflect on the present, and actively imagine possibilities for the Jewish future, together. 

Sol Davis, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Descendants’ Day at B’nai Israel
May 23, 2021 
9:30AM-5:30PM Eastern

Celebrate the old, the new, and the journey in between at this all-day virtual event. Highlights of the schedule include a presentation by scholar-in-residence, Dr. Laura Shaw Frank, a Jewish genealogy workshop with Rabbi Scott Kalmikoff, sessions with JMM’s Director of Collections and Exhibits, Joanna Church, and a virtual walking Tour of the Historic B’nai Israel Cemetery.

View the full schedule and register here.


Reminder: Executive Director Sol Davis is holding weekly office hours to meet you! Make an appointment for a virtual visit and share your thoughts, ideas, and aspirations for JMM.
Click to schedule an appointment now!

Esther’s Place Online:
New Spring Bundle

Check out the latest bundle available exclusively through the online shop. 

This collection of items is a perfect way to celebrate the spring season. 

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