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Berkeley Side: Magnes Collections Get New Downtown Berkeley Home, by Frances Dinkelspiel – 10.13.2010

Berkeley Side: Magnes Collections Get New Downtown Berkeley Home, by Frances Dinkelspiel – 10.13.2010

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Frances Dinkelspiel describes the groundbreaking ceremony marking the construction of a new facility to hold the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley.

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2010/10/13/magnes-collections-get-new-downtown-berkeley-home/
Frances Dinkelspiel describes the groundbreaking ceremony marking the construction of a new facility to hold the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley.

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2010/10/13/magnes-collections-get-new-downtown-berkeley-home/

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Published by: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life on Oct 26, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/26/10 4:15 PMMagnes collections get new downtown Berkeley home | BerkeleysidePage 1 of 8http://www.berkeleyside.com/2010/10/13/magnes-collections-get-new-downtown-berkeley-home/
BerkeleysideNews and notes on our citySkip to Content
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Magnes collections get new downtown Berkeleyhome
Oct 13th, 2010
byFrances Dinkelspiel .
Design of new Magnes building on Allston WayConstruction on a new facility to hold theMagnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Librarywill start in a week.UC Berkeley held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday night for the collection, which will be housed in abuilding at 2121 Allston Way, near Oxford Street. UC President Mark Yudof, UC Berkeley ChancellorRobert Birgeneau, and members of the Jewish community who supported the collection’s predecessororganization, the Judah L. Magnes Museum, were at the celebration.Many of the speakers compared UC Berkeley’s acquisition of the Magnes Museum to a marriage.Warren Hellman, a San Francisco businessman, who along with Tad Taube and the Koret Foundation,
 
10/26/10 4:15 PMMagnes collections get new downtown Berkeley home | BerkeleysidePage 2 of 8http://www.berkeleyside.com/2010/10/13/magnes-collections-get-new-downtown-berkeley-home/
financed theuniversity’s acquisition of the museum, sang a song about the merger. The tune’s lyrics werebased on Woody Guthrie’s “Bound for Glory,” and the chorus refrain was “The Magnes is Bound for Gloryat Last.” Hellman played the banjo. Other members of the band included Ron Hendel, the chair of Berkeley’s Jewish Studies Program, Francesco Spagnolo, the Magnes Curator of Collections, SharonBernstein, the cantor at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, and Colleen Browne, a member of The Wronglers, Hellman’s band.Hendel of the Jewish Studies program crafted a humorous limerick about the Magnes’s wanderings, whichhe recited Tuesday night. (Hint: shiddich means Jewish marriage.)There was a museum named MagnesThat decided to seek a new address.It tried out the city,The result wasn’t pretty,But the shiddich with Cal is a success.The move to a downtown location has been a long time coming.The Magnes Museum purchased the property on Allston Way about 15 years ago. At that time, it waslocated on Russell, a quiet residential street in Berkeley, and had low foot traffic. The museum wanted toincrease its visibility by moving downtown, but the plans never came to fruition. The Magnes leased thebuilding to the Berkeley Main Library while it was renovating its structure and then to the Bancroft Librarywhile it was retrofitting its building.After a merger with the Jewish Museum of San Francisco failed, the Magnes purchased the old ArmstrongCollege building on Harold Way. The museum had planned to renovate the 35,000 square foot building intoa state-of-the-art museum, but the recession made those plans infeasible.In June,the Bancroft Library and UC Berkeley announced it had acquired the Magnes’ collections,including its archive on western Jewish history, its music holdings, its Judaica collection, and its prints andpainting. Some of the assets of the museum were rolled into a new Magnes Museum Foundation, and fundsfrom Magnes supporters will pay for the renovations on Allston Way. The San Franciscoarchitectural firmPfau Longis designing the new building, which should be completed within a year.The Magnes has just sold its Russell Street property to a family. TheMangalam Centerspurchased theHarold Way building earlier this year.The Bancroft Library will exhibit a selection from the holdings of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art andLife in the spring

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