March 10, 2014
(or “So…You Didn’t Know We Had a Permanent Collection”)
I recently had a phone call from a woman who was interested in bringing a group of her friends to tour the Museum for the first time. She mentioned how she was last here back in 2006 to see our first major special exhibition, Cradle of Christianity, featuring fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. She hoped we had such an exhibition on display now to show her friends. When I let her no we did not, she was ready to cancel the excursion. I reminded her that we do have our permanent collections, An American Story and The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery. Since this would be her friends’ first visit, it would still be worth the trip to experience what the Museum has to offer. She paused for a moment then said “You know, I forgot about that part of the Museum! I’m not even sure I made it to that side! OK, let’s schedule!” I then transferred her to the person that schedules our adult tours.
The conversation got me thinking about how many others out there came to the Museum once for a special exhibition, then either never made it to the permanent collection or had to speed through because they were short on time. Then I thought more – when’s the last time even I walked through the collection? Not walking through to make sure all the videos are running or to make sure all guests are out before we close after an event, but actually walk through and look at the collection? So that’s what I did this morning and with that I present to you ten things you didn’t know were in our permanent collection:
The Alsbacher Document, an ethical testament written in 1869 and brought to Cleveland by a group Jewish immigrants from Bavaria; this group was instrumental in creating Cleveland’s Jewish community
Bone and silver carving set belonging to Cleveland’s original Jewish settler, Simson Thorman
Ceremonial trowel commemorating the June 6, 1915 setting of the cornerstone of Mount Sinai Hospital
Video re-enactment of a Passover Seder by Union soldiers in 1862
Torah scroll portion more than 300 years old inscribed in Iraq
The Olympiad, 1934 yearbook of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
German helmet dropped by its owner as he fled advancing American troops near Dachau
Inspection card of Abba Hillel Silver upon his arrival in America in 1902 at age 9. This Cleveland-based rabbi, orator and author was responsible for swaying world opinion in favor of the creation of a Jewish state.
Marriage contract, or ketubah, from Cairo dating back to 1551
19th century prayer directional from North Africa
Come see for yourself these ten items, as well as thousands more, in our permanent collection.