Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Poland: New Director at Krakow's Galicia Jewish Museum

Krakow, Poland. Galicia Jewish Museum. All photos Samuel D. Gruber, 2008.

Poland: New Director at Krakow's Galicia Jewish Museum

The Galicia Jewish Museum founded in April 2004 in Krakow's Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, has appointed a new director, Kazimierz-born Jakub Nowakowski. Nowakowski has worked at the museum since 2005, most recently as its education direction. The museum is located in a former mill building (see photo above) on the edge of Kazimierz, the former suburb to Krakow's Old Town where Jews were permitted to live, and where a vibrant Jewish culture developed over a period of five centuries. The mission of the museum is "to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions typically associated with the Jewish past in Poland and to educate both Poles and Jews about their own histories, whilst encouraging them to think about the future."

Nowakowski will replace Kate Craddy who has returned to England, to take up an appointment at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. Craddy herself became director after the death in 2007 of the museum's founder, the British photographer Chris Schwarz. The museum's core exhibition is formed by Chris's photographs of Jewish heritage sites, taken mainly in the 1990s -- they also form the basis for the book Recovering Traces of Memory, with text by Jonathan Webber.
I congratulate Kate on all she has achieved at the museum, and wish Jakub all the best in his new position.

Nowakowski has an MA in History from the Department of Jewish Studies at the Jagiellonian University, as well as a postgraduate diploma in Management and Marketing from the Kraków School of Economics and Computer Science. He also holds a Tour Leader’s License from the City of Kraków.

In addition to its permanent photographic exhibition, the museum hosts traveling exhibitions about history and art, and also has one of Poland's best Jewish book stores and gift shops, and a hospitable cafe that provides a good rest and meeting place in Kazimierz. My family was pleased to donate one of my mother's (Shirley Moskowitz) monoprints from her Polish synagogue series to the museum in 2009, based on her visits to ruined synagogues in 1993. The wntire series had previously been exhibited at the museum.

The Galicia Jewish Museum employs over 20 full- and part-time staff, in Museum Operations; Education and Research; Projects and Publications; External Relations and Communications; and Finances and Administration. New Museum Director Nowakowski is supported by an active Board of Directors in Poland and a Board of Trustees in the UK, led by Chairman Prof. Jonathan Webber (UNESCO Chair of Jewish and Interfaith Studies, University of Birmingham).

1 comment:

Mott said...

I would love to see it. Why was a former mill building chosen for the museum? Krakow's Old Town must have had hundreds of synagogues, if any survived.