America’s First Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum in New York City, first Jewish museum in the United States as well as the old existing Jewish museum in the world.

The Jewish Museum, as we know it today, opened in 1947 in what had been the family home of Felix M. Warburg on Fifth Avenue in New York. His widow Frieda Schiff Warburg had donated the building to the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1944 for the purpose of establishing a museum for its collection of art and cultural artifacts. The Jewish Museum became the first Jewish museum in the country and is today the oldest Jewish museum in the world. Its first director and curator, Stephen S. Kayser, worked closely with architect Percival Goodman to transform the mansion into a museum. Under Dr. Kayser’s leadership, the museum championed not only modern Jewish ceremonial objects—the Tobe Pascher Workshop, headed by silversmith Ludwig Wolpert, was established at the museum in 1956—it began to foster contemporary painting and sculpture as well.1Lubow, Arthur, How New York’s Jewish Museum Anticipated the Avant-Garde, New York Times Magazine, July 7, 2020

Ismar David had a small solo exhibition at the Jewish Museum in 1953 and was part of other exhibitions there in 1954, 1956/57, and 1958.

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