The Museum of Family History was been created with a dual purpose. The first was to create some sort of tangible, albeit virtual, form that would represent and honor the history of my own extended family. This, generally speaking, would have only been of interest to my family and to others who might share some sort of non-familial connection. The second purpose was to educate and inform everyone about the history of the Jewish people, especially from the time in which they lived in Eastern Europe to the years they spent in whatever country they would eventually call their new home. As it turned out, this website is more about the families of others, which pleases me greatly as the Museum strives to be inclusive as a lasting tribute to other families as well.
Building a museum such as it is requires the help of others in order to grow. Creating a virtual museum, i.e. a museum that exists only on the Internet, has its advantages and offers unique opportunities. Such a museum does not require the raising of funds (though contributions are gratefully accepted) to erect an actual building or pay salaries, but can be created by a person with imagination, time, knowledge and the means to do so, not to mention the material to fill such a museum.
Such as it is, a virtual museum can only be filled with material that attracts the senses of sight and sound (at least until an olfactory chip is invented). The Museum of Family History to a great degree is composed of photographs, text, as well as audio and video, and is somewhat interactive. At present there are a number of sound clips that are included in several exhibitions, with more to come. There are also a good deal of video clips, especially as part of the Museum's Screening Room and its Great Artist Series exhibition entitled "The Immortal Al Jolson." Of course, how successful the Museum may become will depend on the generosity and thoughtfulness of others who are themselves the repositories and archivists of their own family history, and to the many who have already submitted their precious family heirlooms for inclusion within the Museum website, we are already beholden and most grateful.
In this vein, the only limitation is time and material. Therefore, I would like to share a portion of the space available to my website with others, as long as it fits in with the goals of the Museum. I am hoping that many of you will be willing to share photographs, stories, articles, etc. with the Museum, perhaps creating your own "traveling" exhibition so that it can proudly be displayed for all to see. If you are inclined to undertake such a project, please contact the Museum with the specifics before you get started, with an estimate of the time it will take you to prepare such an exhibition. The Museum can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Such an exhibition would be best if it was a combination of photographs and text (even audio and video) and reflected the overall principles of the museum.
There will be many exhibitions in the future that will require additional photographs, not just from the European countries, but also from countries like the United States, Israel, Australia and those in Latin America. If you have photographs that you are willing to share, i.e. that the Museum can place in various exhibitions, please contact us. The same request is made to all those who have the ability to write well. If anyone has the requisite knowledge to write for the Museum and wishes to do so on a volunteer basis, please let me know. Lastly, this Museum is always interested in hearing your ideas about how to make the website better, so please don't hesitate to present them.
From time to time, please check the "Call Box" below, where the Museum will be asking for certain types of material that is needed, that might be included in future exhibitions. Your help and contributions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
The "Help Us Grow" Call Box:
photographs from Europe, up until 1950, especially Eastern
Europe. For each photograph, if possible, please identify the
people, as well as the year the photo was taken and the town
the people in the photo came from.
2. Modern-day photographs taken of various towns and cities in Eastern Europe.
3. Family photographs, up until 1950, from anywhere else in the world, that have the name (and preferably the address) of a photographic studio either imprinted on the photo itself, or on the matte that surrounds the photo.
4. Personal recollections, anecdotes, etc. of family life in the shtetls/towns/cities of Europe up through the end of World War II, preferably with photographs.
5. Photographs, recollections,
anecdotes, etc. of your experience or that of family members,
in the Yiddish theatre or in vaudeville, from anywhere in the
6. Photographs of any Holocaust memorials from anywhere in the world. Please visit the current exhibitions that display memorial photos from New York, New Jersey and various countries in Eastern Europe.
7. Testimony of family experiences in Europe during World War II and the Holocaust.
of the Buchenwald concentration camp, whether they are old photographs or
photographs taken during a visit to the memorial site.
9. Photographs of the synagogues of Europe, either new or old, along with personal recollections of the synagogues of one's own ancestral town there.
10. Personal recollections and photos from the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York.
11. Old photos and recollections of visits to Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, preferably pre-1950.
12. Audio and video: either of pre-war or post-war Europe, recordings of family members about their lives in Europe, etc.
13. Translators, transcribers and those who can do simple data entry.
14. Lastly, the Museum would like to make a request of those of you who believe in the Museum's mission, i.e. to honor and preserve Jewish memory and the Yiddish language. If you could support it in some way financially, it would be well-appreciated, so please consider making a financial donation. Since the Museum's inception in 2005, donations have never been requested, but now in order to grow the Museum to even greater heights, funds are needed. If you would like to make your own contribution for the betterment of the Museum, please contact the Museum of Family History at email@example.com . Thank you.