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Friday, September 13, 2013

In The Beginning...

...there was an empty gallery.  Now it's full of early Hebrew printed books, the first books by and about Jewish Americans, and artifacts related to the Gratz family, one of the earliest and most prominent Jewish families in Philadelphia.  Collected by museum co-founder Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach, these three themes make up the new exhibition In the Beginning: Three Jewish Firsts in the Rosenbach Collection, curated by Curator & Director of Collections, Judy Guston.  The exhibition opens Wednesday, September 18 (though members can preview it the day before), but we thought we'd give you a sneak peak at how the installation is going and at some of the tantalizing objects you'll see on display.

Here's the introduction to the exhibition, which contains a surprising artifact in a niche on the left.  Any guesses what it might be?
Thanks to Will Bucher for the excellent mount-making on this...oops! I almost gave it away!  If you're stumped, search for "1954.2040" in our object database, Phil.

 The exhibition includes manuscripts, photographs, silver and other decorative arts, and plenty of fascinating printed books, including the earliest printed books in the American colonies.  Here are a few below (and seen from the bird's-eye view atop our lighting ladder):

 Last but not least is the Lisbon Pentateuch, printed in 1491 and bound in an amazing box-binding that's extremely rare and also a little formidable to install.  It's one of the highlights of a fascinating section on the earliest printed books in Hebrew. 

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