National Museum of American Jewish History reopens with new exhibits, focus on social issues, racism

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History has reopened with brand new exhibitions and installations, and a mission of using art to raise questions about important social issues.

The Weitzman grounds are filled with art, color and culture.

"You will see up in our atrium, a series of fists," says Josh Perelman, Chief Curator at The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History.

The work is called Power.

"Referencing the moment when Apple diversified the colors of emojis," says Perelman.

It's part of a new exhibition by contemporary artist Jonathan Horowitz called The Future Will Follow the Past.

"Someone who maneuvers through POP Art, through issues of social justice," says Perelman.

Horowitz's Rainbow Glitter American Flag references Jasper John's American Flag series.

"Appropriating the idea of America, as a home to people of all faiths and backgrounds," says Perelman.

The re-opening is designed to narrate the history of the past two years of the pandemic.

"We are excited to be starting a new chapter," says Emily August, Chief Public Engagement Officer at the Weitzman.

And to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month in May.

"Our museum is honored to lead the national effort, we organize programs," says August.

There's now a giant 8x16-foot OY/YO sculpture by Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass.

"It's Philadelphian. It's a greeting, it means 'I' in Spanish. It's Yiddish, 'Boy, my back hurts' like, 'Oy, the pandemic'," says August.

A piece by Nicholas Galanin called Indian Land alludes to the iconic Hollywood sign.

"That sign was originally supposed to say Hollywood Land, promoting a new segregated community," says Perelman.

The works in the museum tackle issues like antisemitism, racial violence, homophobia, women's rights and COVID.

"It is an American History Museum through the lens of Jewish experience," says August.
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101 South Independence Mall East Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

The Future Will Follow the Past by Jonathan Horowitz on display through December 2022

Museum entry is free for the near future, donations accepted
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