Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara

Friday, 11 August 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions
Reading Time:  4 minutes

© Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS) (Italian: Museo Nazionale dell’Ebraismo Italiano e della Shoah) is a public history museum in Ferrara, Italy. It opened in 2017, and traces the history of the Jewish people in Italy starting from the Roman empire through the Holocaust of the 20th century. Chartered by the Italian government in 2003, MEIS contains over 200 artifacts and exhibits that proceed chronologically through the periods of Jewish history in Italy. The museum is continuing to expand through the year 2021.

Though MEIS does not yet have a collection of its own, it displays about 200 loaned artifacts from Jewish history in Italy – including documents, manuscripts, instruments, jewelry, ceremonial objects, and household goods – show how Jews contributed to Italian society. Most of the museum’s artifacts are on loan from other Italian museums or museums around the world. The collection includes reproductions of the Jewish catacombs in Rome; headstones from eleven different ancient Jewish congregations; a book by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus from 1490; a handwritten contract by the father of Leonardo da Vinci; a Pompeiian statue of Roman Emperor Titus; and a replica of the Arch of Titus, which was originally built to commemorate Rome’s conquest of Jerusalem.

© Nicola Quirico/cc-by-sa-4.0 Architectural model of the museum expansion © Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Emilio2005/cc-by-sa-4.0 Architectural model of the museum expansion © Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Nicola Quirico/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Architectural model of the museum expansion © Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0
The museum traces the history of Jews in Italy chronologically and contains multimedia installations as well as artifacts. Visitors watch videos of experts explain different parts of the history, accompanied with maps and timelines. MEIS’s inaugural permanent exhibition is “Jews, an Italian Story. The First Thousand Years”. Opened in March 2019, the second permanent exhibition is called “The Renaissance Speaks Hebrew”, which features a Torah scroll dating to the 13th century from Biella in Italy’s Piedmont region. The third exhibition, about the Holocaust, was scheduled to open in September 2019. The museum has also displayed a temporary exhibition on local jewry, titled “Jewish Ferrara”.

Upon its opening in 2017, the museum existed in two former prison buildings within walking distance of the old Jewish ghetto. First opened in 1912, the prison was used to detain Jews during World War II before they were sent to concentration camps. The prison closed in 1992 and was renovated to be the site for MEIS partially because of the potential to convert a prison that had incarcerated Jews into an institution about Jewish culture. As of 2019, MEIS is constructing five additional adjoining glass buildings on its 2.48-acre (1.00 ha) site, architecturally designed to represent the five books of the Torah. The facades of the buildings will display biblical verses. Construction is planned to be completed before 2025. When complete, the museum will comprise 100,000 square feet (9,300 m²) of space. The finished complex will include a library, auditorium, Ferrara’s first two kosher restaurants, shop, archive, educational spaces, and a section for youth. The plan also includes an outdoor herb garden called the “Garden of Questions” (Italian: Giardino delle Domande), in which visitors can learn about Jewish dietary laws.

Read more on Museo Nazionale dell’Ebraismo Italiano e della Shoah and Wikipedia Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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