Jewish American Heritage Month: How museums can honor and celebrate

Photograph of a Young Jewish Boy with Elders at a Passover Ceremony. April 16, 1951.
From the National Archives’ Jewish American Heritage Month Flickr album.

The month of May is officially designated as Jewish American Heritage Month, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush to honor and celebrate the rich history, cultural heritage, and invaluable contributions of Jewish Americans to the United States. This month provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the many aspects of their contributions to American history and culture, including the arts, business, public service, and social justice movements. From the early immigrants who carved out new lives to the trailblazers who continue to inspire change, Jewish Americans have left an indelible mark on the American story. Join us in honoring the achievements and profound impact of Jewish Americans throughout this special month and beyond.

Jewish American Heritage Month

The American Alliance of Museums is a partner of Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). Each May, JAHM is a celebration of the contributions and experiences of Jewish Americans and highlights how America’s Jewish communities have shaped and been shaped by the cultural, social, and economic fabric of the United States.

The official JAHM hashtags for 2024 are #MyJAHM and #OurSharedHeritage.

» The JAHM website is continually updated with new and expanded resources. Learn about how your museum or organization can become a partner to share your events and access social media toolkits and other partner resources.

» Explore official JAHM and partner events throughout May.

Explore related resources from AAM:

Thriving as a Virtual Museum: The National Museum of American Jewish History’s Playbook by Dr. Misha Galperin

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center has a More Visceral Experience” by Sierra Wolff, made freely available from Museum

6 Data-Tested Approaches to Building New Audiences includes examples on how the Contemporary Jewish Museum welcomed broader audiences.

Converting Family into Fans: How the Contemporary Jewish Museum expanded its reach to a new audience” by Bob Harlow in Museum

» Learn about David Zvi Kalman, Research Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute, one of the four workshop speakers at the upcoming May 16 Center for the Future of Museums Workshop, “Diving into the Future: Repatriation, Restitution, and Reparations” taking place at the 2024 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. He is the owner of Print-O-Craft Press, an independent publishing house that focuses on Jewish art books and LGBTQ subjects; the inventor of the twenty-sided dreidel; and an author of short fiction.

Articles and stories from across the museum field:

New Capital Jewish Museum gives fresh home to 150-year-old synagogue“ from The GW Hatchet

Academy Museum Unveils Permanent Exhibit on Jewish Founders of Hollywood After Criticism“ from Variety

Jewish Museum Of Florida Shares Stories Of Struggles“ from WLRN

Proceeds From Rare Treasures Sold at Auction Help Steady Jewish History Museum“ from The New York Times

The Jewish artist bringing abortion history to America’s museums“ from Forward

The Museum of Jewish Heritage seeks to educate more college-age visitors about the Holocaust, starting with a private tour for CUNY students“ from Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Legislators Push Bill for American Jewish History Museum“ from Hyperallergic

Keep The Fire Lit: How the National Museum of American Jewish History has made music a cornerstone of its pandemic programming“ from WXPN

Additional resources from:

American Jewish Committee (AJC):

Toolkits for corporate, educational, and elected officials.

American Libraries Magazine:

By the Numbers: Jewish American Heritage Month provides statistics on library collections, museums, and media celebrating Jewish Americans.

Center for Jewish History:

Genealogy Research Guides include up-to-date information on how to access published material, documents, websites and other resources to help design and conduct research projects.

Council of American Jewish Museums

The Council of American Jewish Museums convenes museums across the national for a national conference, and offers a number of programs to inspire innovation, creative partnerships, resource sharing, new practices, and collaborations to increase the overall impact of Jewish museums locally, nationally, and internationally.

Learn about the Institute for Museum and Library Services and CAJM’s partnership to address antisemitism.

Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan

The museum offers Education resources, including an FAQ on antisemitism for educators, sample curriculums, teacher guides, and professional development opportunities.

Museum of Tolerance:

The museum’s website offers guides, digital archives, professional development for educators, and more.

National Archives:

The Jewish American Heritage Month collection has recordings and videos of historical moments in Jewish American history.

National Park Service:

Jewish American Heritage Month

New York Public Library:

The American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection provides transcripts and recorded interviews of the American Jewish experience in the 20th century.


The Jewish Americans is a three-part documentary exploring 350 years of Jewish American history.

Smithsonian Institute:

Jewish American Heritage Month spotlight

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

The museum’s website offers resources for educators and the public, searchable collections, and a series of educational programming in May centered on remembrance.

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History:

The Weitzman Museum is organizer of Jewish American Heritage Month, and offers professional development programs for teachers and librarians who may work with your organization. In 2024, programs include:

  • May 2: a webinar for teachers with novelist Dara Horn
  • May 23: a 60-minute program, Stories that Shaped a Nation: Jewish Lives in America, exploring the complexities of Jewish peoplehood

Inspiration for how you or your museum might get involved:

Get inspiration from other museums in March or throughout the year:

  • The Maltz Museum in Ohio celebrates rich Jewish heritage year-round, from music to literature and comics, in an area where Jewish migrants first moved between the 1880s and 1920s.
  • Museums like the North Carolina Museum of Art have hosted exhibits in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month that celebrate Jewish culture and heritage. The museum also highlights its permanent Judaic art exhibit, showcasing a diverse array of pieces that depict the Jewish experience across generations, centuries, and continents.
  • The Oregon Museum of the Jewish People and Center for Holocaust Education in Portland offers resources for educators and a series of events in May and year-round.
  • The new Lillian and Albert Small Capital Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, offers school group visits, a community action lab, and educator resources.
  • The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection pays tribute to the month through their online exhibition “Unlisted: Underappreciated Women Artists,” showcasing female Jewish American artists.
  • The Museum of Jewish Heritage hosts a virtual, livestreamed walking tour of Nuremberg to explore the history of the city’s Jewish community, which was once the second largest Jewish community in Bavaria.
  • The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County presents an Annual Winter Jewish Film Festival.
  • The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History is partnering with the Kennedy Center to host a concert featuring traditional Jewish music from Eastern Europe, Turkey, Cuba, South America, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula.
  • The American Jewish Medical Association will be highlighting Jewish contributions to Medicine throughout the month of May. Every day will highlight another Nobel prize winner, physician, or medical advancement that can be attributed to Jewish healthcare professionals and researchers.
  • The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research was awarded a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to digitize materials from two collections that are part of its Jewish Labor and Political Archives: The Workmen’s Circle Collection and the Photograph Collection.
  • Jewish Museum Milwaukee hosted, for the intersection of JAHM and AAPI Heritage months in May 2022, an exhibit on the history of internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

Did your museum honor or celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month in May, or any time of year?

Consider sharing with the field by pitching an idea about your museum’s work with your community, how your museum worked internally on the initiative or program, or another relevant angle for museum professionals. We are always looking for posts that empower museum professionals to do their best work; speak to a wide breadth of museum types, sizes, and disciplines; and reveal new, surprising ideas and connections. Read the Editorial Guidelines and make your pitch.

About Jewish American Heritage Month:

A Proclamation on Jewish American Heritage Month, 2023 – The White House

On the historical significance of Jewish American Heritage Month:

Jewish American Heritage Month: This website provides a variety of resources for teachers, including resources compiled from National Archives, Library of Congress, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Jewish American Heritage explores the complexity of Jewish identity.

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