4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks

The New Permanent Exhibition of the Mizel Museum
by Ellen Premack, Executive Director of the Mizel Museum

Following an extensive process to re-invent and re-create the Mizel Museum at Kearney Street, we have embarked on developing a new permanent exhibition. Our three-thousand square foot exhibition space will display a new core permanent exhibition that will offer visitors a journey through local and global Jewish culture in historical and contemporary contexts. The exhibition will highlight Jewish culture and its values made manifest within today’s global matrix. The themes of resilience and world repair will also be emphasized throughout this celebratory “road trip.” The exhibition will use artifacts, constructions, video,photography and interactive media technologies.

The new exhibition 4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks is currently in process. This process includes a complete overhaul of the museum’s administrative spaces and will reflect advancements in museum technology and most importantly, a conceptual shift.

In the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, G-d first created light and created kelem, or vessels, to contain that light. But, when G-d poured the light into the vessels, they were too weak to contain it. The vessels shattered, the shards made up the material world that we commonly experienced, and sparks of light scattered across the universe. Thus, everywhere in the material world are hidden sparks of light. They are within people, plants and animals, rocks and earth. Human beings must gather these sparks of light, bringing the material world closer to the world of Oneness and Light. This job of gathering sparks is called Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

As we embark further into the 21st Century, we are reminded daily of the sparks of light that we must collect – the world is in a constant state of flux and humans must continue to pursue justice and peace. The Jewish people have continued to thrive under extreme pressures throughout its history and therefore exemplify a spirit of resilience that serves as a model. Similarly, this resilience instills in today’s Jewish people a crucial dedication to the continuation of its own culture, and importantly, to the sustainability of the entire world.

4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks is a new exhibition for our community, headed up by Project Manager and Curator, Georgina Kolber. The entire staff, with assistance from members of the Board of Advisors, has invested much time and passion for this content by researching and contributing to the new narrative content. We have gathered a talented team of artists, designers, fabricators and reviewers, thus promising a unique, engaging and educational journey. Re-energized gallery spaces will provide safe-keeping for a portion of the museum’s collection. A children’s gallery and recourse center will be configured along with expanded community and school programming.

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