Opened in 1998, at the joint initiative of the Ministry of Culture, the City of Paris and the institutions of Judaism, the Museum of Art and History of Judaism (mahJ) has taken an important place in the landscape of French museums. The quality of its collection, its policy of temporary exhibitions, a wide range of mediation and a rich programme in its auditorium allow the public to discover the universality of artistic and cultural productions from Judaism. «Musée de France» installed in the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, designed by Pierre Le Muet (1591-1669), a masterpiece of 17th century architecturee The mahJ is now presided over by Dominique Schnapper, sociologist, honorary member of the Constitutional Council and headed by Paul Salmona.
After two decades of welcoming more than two million visitors, the mahJ is committed, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the City of Paris, in an ambitious redefinition of its museum journey based on a new scientific and cultural project approved in 2016.
This project will reinforce the strong points of this original institution, which has been given to Judaism as part of civilization and thus show the very ancient anchorage of Jews in France, dating back to antiquity in certain regions; to make known the republican process of emancipation and integration of Jews in the nation; to highlight the originality of Franco-Judaism since the XIXe to give more space to Judaism in the Mediterranean basin, especially in the Maghreb and the Levantine; to evoke the massive arrival of Jews from North Africa in the 1960s; and to report on the vitality of Judaism in today’s France.
It will enhance a collection unique in Europe by its richness and its international character (France, Italy, Central and Eastern Europe, Maghreb, Levant, etc.) and among the most beautiful in the world; to present a remarkable contemporary collection in a more suitable setting; and to make the works more accessible thanks to the latest technologies.
It will be accompanied by an extension of the spaces of the hotel of Saint-Aignan to increase the areas devoted to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, as well as those of the museum reserves. This project is under study by the City of Paris, owner of this building classified as Historic Monuments and located in the area safeguarded of the Marais, to determine the contours of this operation, which will be financed by public authorities as well as by private support and should be completed by 2026.