Museum of the History of Polish Jews program director, NYU professor to offer glimpse inside new state of the art facility at Fairfield University event


Image: Barbara Kirshenblatt-GimblettOn the site of what was once the Warsaw Ghetto, the state-of-the-art Museum of the History of Polish Jews is rising.

On Monday, October 22, at 7:30 p.m., Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Ph.D., program director of the museum's core exhibition, will offer an insider's view of the highly anticipated facility when she delivers Fairfield University's 2012 Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecture in Judaic Studies.

Free and open to the public, the talk, "Rising from the Rubble: Creating the Museum of the History of Polish Jews," will feature Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett discussing the key role she's playing at the museum, which founders say will employ the latest historical research and most innovative exhibition design. Her talk will also focus on the history of Jews in such cities as Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz as Fairfield University's two-year long celebration of "Cities" gets underway. Over half of the world's population now lives in cities, and trends suggest that close to 75 percent of the global population will live in urban and metropolitan areas by the middle of the 21st century. This phenomenon is one Fairfield University is exploring through classes, events and lectures such as this one.

A "narrative museum and cultural center," it will be the first and only museum to focus on the history of Polish Jews and the rich civilization they created. "In no small measure, the extent to which this multimedia museum will bring to light - and life - the 1,000 year old history of Polish Jewry is due to the knowledge, creativity, and passion of Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett," said Ellen Umansky, Ph.D., director of the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, which is presenting the event.

Extensively published, Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is professor of Performing Arts at New York University. She co-wrote (with Harvey Goldberg and Samuel Heilman) The Israel Experience: Studies in Youth Travel and Jewish Identity (Jerusalem: Melton Center, 2002). Fellow and past president of the American Folklore Society, she's a member of the Advisory Council of the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies at the Smithsonian Institution. She was honored with the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania.

There is limited seating for this event, which will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. For reservations, call Fairfield University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066.

For more information about the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/judaic/.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 27, 2012

Vol. 45, No. 59