The National Museum of American Jewish History, located on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, is an American history museum that tells the story of the United States through the American Jewish experience. This show, the second of a two-part episode, focuses on the Museum's educational activities, its exhibits, its architecture, and artifacts. The first part focused on the Museum's mission and founding. Ivy L. Barsky, Gwen Goodman Director and CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History, returns to the show to comment on the importance of the Museum's location just steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Barsky discusses the Museum's lively interactive exhibits, some of which invite visitors to contribute their stories and opinions. James Stewart Polshek, FAIA, architect of the National Museum of American Jewish History, talks about the challenges involved in transferring the museum from its prior location in Philadelphia to its new current street-corner site. Polshek explains why he chose a combination of opaque, transparent, translucent, and glowing building materials, and how the translucent materials function as a welcoming lens to visitors. Historian team member Pamela Nadell describes the chronological arrangement of the exhibits, the balance of major Jewish figures with ordinary people, and the importance of several items in the collection. This episode features dramatic footage of the Museum's interior and exterior, spotlights artifacts described by Nadell, and includes shots of the two sculptures outside the building, Religious Liberty, a work dating from the Centennial, and Beacon, a contemporary abstract work. Sweeping views of the Museum in the context of its historical surroundings add to this episode's impressive visuals.
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Episode #209 / Length: 26 minutes