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The Jewish Museum's exhibition Accumulations: Hanukkah Lamps features over 80 Hanukkah lamps representing four continents and six centuries of artistic production. One of seven sections that make up the Jewish Museum’s third floor collection exhibition, Scenes from the Collection, “Accumulations” spotlights an aspect of museum collecting: the accumulation of multiple examples of a given work or similar works. The Jewish Museum’s collection of Hanukkah lamps is the largest in the world at nearly 1,050 pieces, and was amassed over the 114 years of the Museum’s existence. The Hanukkah lamps on view reflect a wide variety of stylistic influences and decorative techniques. The holiday of Hanukkah celebrates a successful revolt for religious freedom in ancient Israel. Through the centuries the importance of Hanukkah has grown and with it the centrality of the lamp. The material that lamps should be made of has also been prescribed by rabbinical authorities, in order to fulfill the commandment in as beautiful a way as one could afford, using the most precious materials possible, ranging from gold and silver to acorn shells. There were no restrictions on the manner of decoration. This has allowed artists, designers, and craftsmen great artistic freedom, often producing fantastical designs and shapes. The selection of lamps on view range in date from the Renaissance to Thanksgiving 2013 when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided, and originated in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are made of such materials as silver, copper, steel, tin, pewter, lead, glass, wood, clay, aluminum, concrete, and silicone. Differences in their materials and styles reveal rich details of the lives of Jews throughout the world over the course of six hundred years.
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Located on New York City’s Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum is a jewel-box of an art museum, and a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds.
The Museum maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of fine art, Judaica, antiquities, folk art, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media which reflect the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. Our distinguished exhibition history reveals a deep and rich exploration of Jewish culture and identity, and includes some of the most seminal shows of the 20th and 21st centuries. Our dynamic education programs – from talks and lectures, to performances, to hands-on art making and more – serve a wide range of audiences, including families, students, educators, and art lovers.