Collection


The Jewish Museum of Australia is custodian of over 20,000 objects and stories that tell the continuum of Jewish life and what it means to be Jewish in Australia.

Most of the objects have come from peoples’ own life experiences or those of their forbears.


Forms and Themes

  • Ritual Judaica contemporary and historical, domestic and synagogal objects that relate to festivals, life cycle events and daily life in different eras and parts of the world, including Australia.
  • Historical Judaica, in particular Australian Historical Judaica photographs, organisational and personal papers and records that document and explain Jewish religious, cultural and social movements,, communities, places, migration and settlement
  • Personal Holocaust history in the context of a larger personal history
  • Personal and Family History letters, photographs, illustrations, diaries, scrapbooks, clothing, domestic objects
  • Business and Occupational History business records, stationery, advertising, product samples and photographs where a business has been initiated and/or owned by Jewish people and had a broader social or business impact e.g. Flinders Lane
  • The Visual Arts collection includes historical and contemporary works by Jewish artists, artisans and works of on Jewish themes. Many types of material are represented: silver, gold, brass, pewter, textiles, basketry, works on paper, oils, wood, photographs,digital, multi-media.

Archives and Sub-collections

  • HMT Dunera and Internment collection
  • The Jews in Shanghai prior to and during World War II collection
  • Personal family archives documenting life in Europe and the migration and settlement processes
  • Kalman Katz Coin Collection
  • The Archives of Rabbi J L Gurewicz
  • Schmatte Business Collection – Jews in the garment trade
  • Photographs and records of Jewish life in regional Victoria in the 19th century
  • Charles Aisen Sculpture Collection

More Information

For more information about the Collection or to enquire about the Museum’s acquisition policies and processes please email p.cook@jewishmuseum.com.au

The collection also provides an important educational and research tool for academics and researchers. Access is open to anyone who has an interest in the subject matter and the collection acts as an important original, primary source of information about Jewish culture and history, particularly in the local context.

The Museum is working to digitise the collection so that it can be better shared locally, nationally and internationally through the web.


Donating to the Museum Collection

Thank you for considering donating an object to the Jewish Museum of Australia. We have standard policies and procedures relating to collection donations outlined in our Acquisition and Deaccession Policy. These have been developed to help protect donors and their objects, as well as help us manage the collection according to professional standards. The key steps in this process are outlined below.

Please be aware, the Museum does not accept objects onto the Museum premises before a formal decision has been made about its suitability for the collection. This is a standard policy adopted by the majority of museums.

Step One

Please complete a Donor Information Sheet in as much detail as possible. The more information you can provide us the better! Knowing the full ‘story’ of an object, including its history and provenance, is essential for us to be able to assess its appropriateness for the collection. We also rely on photographs to help guide our decision and these can be emailed or posted directly to us along with the completed form.

If you find it difficult to complete any of these steps, please contact a member of the Curatorial team who will do their best to assist you.

Before you make a decision to donate to the Museum, please take time to read our Acquisition and Deaccession Policy. This contains important details about what we collect along with the specific terms relating to donations. We also advise you to discuss your decision with relevant family members prior to donating to the Museum.

Step Two

Curatorial staff will review all of the information provided and make an initial assessment of the object. If we need further information we will contact you directly at this stage. An acquisitions proposal, stating our recommendation for or against accepting the object into the collection, will be presented at an Acquisition Committee Meeting for a final decision.

Please be aware that this process can take up to 6 months as committee meetings are only held quarterly. We understand this can seem like a long time to wait for a decision, but it is one of the most important decisions the museum will ever make, and must be undertaken carefully.

If you have any questions or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact p.cook@jewishmuseum.com.au