2 new exhibits at the National Museum of American Jewish History

PHILADELPHIA - August 11, 2013

The National Museum of American Jewish History has 2 new exhibitions, one weaves together tales of Jewish immigrant garment workers, while the other celebrates the work of an award-winning children's book author.

With more than 80 original illustrations and collages, 'The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats is the first ever major exhibition of Keats' work in the U-S.

Josh Perelman, Chief Curator, National Museum of American Jewish History said, "To his books, Keats brought a real sense of empathy for those who were marginalized. He'd grown up in a very impoverished neighborhood and he wanted to put in the books the world that he lived in."

Keats was one of the first children's book authors to use an urban setting for his stories that include multi-cultural characters. The Snowy Day is considered one of the most important American books of the 20th century.

"It's the first major-market, full-color picture book to feature an African American protagonist," said Perelman.

In 'Hemmed Up', artists Keir Johnston and Erne Martinez collected remnants from local textile factories to create a larger-than-life tapestry.

"It was literally pieced together by hand…by the artists themselves and members of the community as well as members of the museum staff," added Perelman.

Each fabric piece represents a different letter and together, the letters tell a story of Jewish garment workers


Perelman said, "It is kind of suffused with the history and culture of millions of garment workers, but represents a very modern, contemporary reinterpretation of that history."

You can see Hemmed Up through August 25th and the Keats exhibit through October 20th. For tickets, go to National Museum of American Jewish History.

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