From 1985 until 2021 the original collection of the Irish Jewish Historical Society which seeded the museum collection was added to by ad hoc acquisitions. The museum collects material dating from the medieval period through to the present day which reflects the diverse roots of the Jewish people in Ireland.
There is little duplication between our museums collection and the contents of other museums in Ireland. Featured below is a curated selection from our collection.
Archival material is always welcome but of necessity is stored safely outside the museum until expansion of museum is concluded. It is documented before being placed in storage.
The museum collects the following:
This collection primarily consists of religious items used in the synagogue (e.g. Torah ornaments), the home (e.g. Hanukah lamps) or by individuals (e.g. amulets). There are also secular objects, often connected with communal activities (e.g. trophies, regalia), domestic items (e.g. cooking equipment) and personal items, (e.g. jewellery).
The collection includes some religious material – synagogue lamps, commemorative and domestic objects.
The museum has an extensive collection of synagogue textiles, including Ark curtains, and Torah mantles ranging from the 18th to the 20th centuries, originating in synagogues in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Limerick.
Smaller items include challah covers and items of personal piety such as prayer shawls. Non religious items include wedding dresses and Masonic Lodge regalia.
The museum has a number of original Harry Kernoff and Estella Solomons paintings and prints and an extensive collection of Ray Wasserman paintings and photographs by Maurice Friedberg. The later items are in storage.
The museum holds both original photographs and an archive of historical images. There are also large framed photographs of leaders of the community. The photograph archive illustrates the full range of the museum’s collecting interests, including people, places, activities and areas of origin.. The photograph collection will be the final part of the collection to be recorded and perhaps we might encourage one of our new visitors to the website to contribute to this most important work
The collection includes both religious and secular books printed in a range of languages, English, Irish, Hebrew and Yiddish from the 18th to the 20th centuries. There are also bound religious registers. Books in the collection are treated as museum objects and some are treated as reference sources.
There is a wide range of paper based material both religious and secular and mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries. Included are synagogue records and ephemera, religious documentation, tradecards, account books, ledgers, newspapers, magazines and annual reports. Subject areas include working life, politics, social activities, Jewish communal organisations, personal papers including diaries, letters, certificates ID cards and passports.
An archive of the papers of the late Raphael Siev first Curator of the IJM was our first important archive. The museum was donated the papers of the late historian Ray Rivlin and the family of Robert Briscoe donated an important archive of his 1930’s papers to the IJM in 2019.
The museum has film, tapes, CDs consisting primarily of life history or subject specific interviews. These reflect personal interviews, working life, and communal activities. It is planned to extend this area by initiating a programme of recording life stories. It is planned to digitize these.
Details of the collection are maintained on a MODES computerised database and are accessible on request.