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SFGATE-Magnes Museum's Judaica to Get New Homes at UC

SFGATE-Magnes Museum's Judaica to Get New Homes at UC

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Article by Kenneth Parker for the San Francisco Chronicle, covering the announced transfer of the collection of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley, and the creation of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at The Bancroft Library.
Article by Kenneth Parker for the San Francisco Chronicle, covering the announced transfer of the collection of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley, and the creation of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at The Bancroft Library.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life on Jun 22, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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6/22/10 4:13 PMMagnes museum's Judaica to get new homes at UCPage 1 of 4http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/06/22/BAV21E2KV0.DTL
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These Torah staffs are part of the collection of Berkeley's Magnes Museum, which is joining forces withUC.View Larger Image
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Magnes museum's Judaica to get new homes atUC
UC Berkeley will now preside overthe Judah L. Magnes Museum'snearly unrivaled collectionsrepresenting the cultural history  of Jew sinthe West, accordingto an agreement announcedMonday.Kept under one roosincethe Magnes Museum's founding in1961, the art and history collections, around10,000items in all,  will bedivided among several v enues as they come under the university'scustodianship over the summer.Gifts that will amount to $2.5 million overfive years from the Koret Foundation andphilanthropists Warren Hellman and TadTaube will facilitate the transfer of themuseum's holdings, which following theirrelocation will be known as the MagnesCollection of Jewish Art and Life at theBancroft Library. Anticipating popularusage, the remade museum will go by "TheMagnes." Alla Efimova, the Magnes' director and chief curator, will retain her present title and duties in thetransformed institution. Those duties includecollection growth, a program of special exhibitionsand a rotating display of objects from the Magnes'permanent collection."It will be like open, visible storage," Efimova said of 
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6/22/10 4:13 PMMagnes museum's Judaica to get new homes at UCPage 2 of 4http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/06/22/BAV21E2KV0.DTL
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the collection's future deployment. "There will be a lot more on view at all times thanever before."The Bancroft Library will house the Magnes' Western Jewish History Archives: letters,photographs, diaries and other records of Jewish settlement in the West. Sheet musicand musical manuscripts will go to the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. Paintings,sculpture, prints and ritual objects will find a home in a building the Magnes already owns at 2121 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley.The Magnes' board had the foresight to acquire the downtown building in 1997, with aneye to an eventual move, and has rented it to the university for the past several years.The Magnes' original quarters, an 8,600-square-foot residential property at 2911Russell St. in Berkeley, went on the market in late April, listed at $2.75 million.Proceeds from the sale will go toward renovation of the Allston Way building and theMagnes' projected annual operating budget of $1 million.Peter Pfau of Pfau Long Architecture in San Francisco has been commissioned toconvert the Allston Way building, a former printing plant, to museum use at anestimated cost of $3 million. (Pfau Long's most visible recent project is the SPUR Center on Mission Street in downtown San Francisco.)Thanks to museum benefactors, part of the funding is already in place, and a campaignto raise the remainder will be announced soon."The Magnes Museum will become a supporting organization of the Magnes Collectionof Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library," Efimova said.In 2001, the Magnes Museum and the Jewish Museum San Francisco - now known asthe Contemporary Jewish Museum - entered fraught bargaining for a merger that mighthave benefited both institutions, which had found themselves vying for support fromthe same donors. After more than a year, negotiations definitively broke down.In hiring Pfau Long and partnering with UC Berkeley, the Magnes takes a completely different path from the CJM, which now occupies an eye-catching hybrid building indowntown San Francisco: a Daniel Libeskind blue steel rhomboid wedded to a historic Willis Polk facade.But the Magnes' partnership and relocation will insure a long-sought gain in visibility for its public programs and broaden researchers' access to its distinctive resources.
 E-mail Kenneth Baker at kennethbaker@sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page
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6/22/10 4:13 PMMagnes museum's Judaica to get new homes at UCPage 3 of 4http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/06/22/BAV21E2KV0.DTL
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3| |[Report Abuse] 
1:34 PM on June 22, 2010
unrivaled.my very words..
 REPLY (1) (0)
1| |[Report Abuse] 
10:01 AM on June 22, 2010
I hope the collection is in place before the start of the school year. Maybe then, it'll fly underthe radar of the students who will doubtlessly want to protest it.
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