The Jewish Jukebox A Century of Music on Shellac and Vinyl

Until 7 january 2018

The Jewish Jukebox, an exhibition to be held at the Jewish Historical Museum from 30 June 2017 to 7 January 2018, takes visitors on a journey through familiar and less familiar parts of 20th-century popular culture, with the aid of gramophones and gramophone records.

At the end of the 19th century, Emile Berliner, a German Jew who had emigrated to the United States, made an invention that would change the world forever: his gramophone and gramophone records heralded the mass consumption of music and entertainment.

For a hundred years, shellac and vinyl were the primary carriers of popular culture. The entire 20th century, with all its dreams and disasters, its illusions and expectations, was compressed into these magical materials. Gramophone records were mass-produced for the whole population to enjoy. Jewish identity too found its way onto gramophone records, bringing not only synagogue music and Jewish folk music but also Yiddish theatre songs from Broadway, pop music, and even subversive punk songs into people’s living rooms all over the world. The history of the gramophone record goes hand in hand with the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, producers and songwriters. Their music – well-known songs, musicals, and film scores – provided the characteristic sounds of the 20th century. Although this music was not in itself necessarily Jewish, it did spring from Jewish history and the experience of Jewish identity.

The Jewish Jukebox

In The Jewish Jukebox, visitors can come to the counter and listen to a wide range of music, from Benny Goodman, Esther Ofarim, and Irving Berlin to Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, and Leonard Cohen. As you listen, surrounded by the sleeves of countless records by dozens of entertainers, you will feel as if you have been transported to a record store like those found in every shopping street in the 20th century, and which have recently enjoyed something of a revival: a revival to which the Jewish Historical Museum is now contributing.

Jewish Museum Hohenems. Foto Dietmar Walser
Jewish Museum Hohenems. Foto Dietmar Walser



This exhibition is on view at the Jewish Historical Museum.


Would you like to visit the Jewish Cultural Quarter? Buy your tickets online.
Your ticket will give access to the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, the JHM Children's Museum, and the National Holocaust Museum. You can visit all four locations with one ticket, which is valid for one month!

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Deze site is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands