The Skirball Cultural Center is an educational institution in Los Angeles, California devoted to sustaining Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals. Open to the public since 1996, the Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals.
The campus includes a museum, a performing arts center, conference halls, classrooms, libraries, courtyards, gardens, and a café. In its first decade, the Center attracted nearly five million visitors, becoming one of the world’s major Jewish cultural institutions.
The Skirball Museum predates the Skirball Cultural Center, having been established in 1972 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in L.A. The Museum moved into the Skirball Cultural Center after the center’s completion. Skirball’s core exhibition, Visions, and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America, traces the history, experiences, and values of Jews over 4,000 years. Featuring changing displays of works from the Skirball’s museum collection, the exhibition’s galleries contain multimedia installations, rare artifacts, historical documents and photographs, works of fine art, interactive computer stations, and sound recordings that lead visitors on the Jewish people’s journey, culminating with their experiences in the United States. Anchored by the theme of retaining one’s heritage while adapting to life in America, this narrative resonates with a remarkable number of Skirball visitors, over half of whom are not Jewish.
Comprising more than 30,000 objects, the Skirball’s museum collection includes archaeological artifacts from biblical and later historical periods; Jewish ceremonial objects from countries all over the globe; an extensive group of Old World Jewish objects; the Project Americana collection, comprising objects that document the “everyday life of ordinary people” in the United States since the 1850s; and works of fine art in a variety of media.