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The Special Library Around the Corner: Exploring Museum at Eldridge Street

By Flordalisa Lopez posted 06-01-2022 11:02


SLA NY Diversity committee is taking a look at Special libraries and archives in New York City and Tri-state area. In honor of Jewish Heritage month, we will be exploring Museum at Eldridge Street. Deputy Director for Public Engagement, Sophie Lo, kindly responded to some requests, please see the short Q&A:

SLA-NY LL: Does the Museum at Eldridge Street have a library and archive of their own? We would love to learn more about it, and your librarian.

S.L.: The Museum at Eldridge Street has a small collection of historic documents, objects, and art. Nancy Johnson, our archivist and curator has been looking after this collection since 2009. In 2016, she also began curating the Museum's temporary art and history exhibitions. Exhibitions have included works by artist Kiki Smith, and an exhibition about the rise, fall, and reemergence of Harbin, China's Jewish culture.

SLA-NY LL: I can see your new exhibit from May 12- Nov. 6th is on your webpage, can you tell me a bit more about it?

S.L.: Here is a link to the exhibition media kit. It includes images and a press release about the exhibit.

Steve Marcus: Top Dog of Kosher Pop Art: takes viewers on a journey into the cartoon world of kosher folk art through a series of new artworks inspired by one of the many great Jewish contributions to American culture: the hot dog. Can also find an audio guide narrated by the artist.

Little Nathan's Dream

SLA-NY LL: Your mission statement and value is welcoming, thank you! Can you tell me a bit more about the museum, who is your audience?

S.L.: The Museum at Eldridge Street is housed in the Eldridge Street Synagogue, a magnificent National Historic Landmark that has been meticulously restored. Opened in 1887, the synagogue is the first great house of worship built in America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Today, it is the only remaining marker of the great wave of Jewish migration to the Lower East Side that is open to a broad public who wish to visit Jewish New York. Exhibitions, tours, public programs, and education programs tell the story of Jewish immigrant life, architecture, and historic preservation. The Museum aims to inspire reflection on cultural continuity, and foster collaboration and exchange between people of all faiths, heritages, and interests.

The Museum is proud to welcome 40,000 visitors from all over the world each year. A testament to our commitment to engage with visitors of all backgrounds, the Museum has been hosting our annual signature event, the Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Street Festival, since 2000. The festival is a celebration of the diverse cultures that make up our Lower East Side/Chinatown community, celebrating the folklife of our neighborhood in this corner of New York City. Through music, dance, crafts, ritual practices, foodways, and other creative expressions, the festival is a place of immersive learning, providing a meaningful appreciation of difference and shared identity. We honor the spirit of this ever-changing neighborhood and open a dialogue about the immigrant experience in New York City today. This year's festival will take place on June 26 from 12pm-4pm.

Thank you Sophie Lo for taking the time to answer these questions, and readers stay tunned for the next issues of “The Special Library Around the Corner.”