2012 Annual Conference

Place and Purpose: Jewish Museums and Community Renewal

2012 Conference Program

DetroitDetroit, a place so central to 20th-century America in both its ascendance and its decline, has become an archetype for a post-industrial city plagued by white-flight and economic deterioration. However, recent developments suggest Detroit is becoming a model of how to build cultural meaning despite limited public resources.

The conference took place from February 26-28, 2012. Taking inspiration from our host city, it explored the role that Jewish museums play in the communities that they serve and the ways they negotiate complex issues of race, class, economics, religious diversity, representation, and culture.

Conference Chairs were Deborah Cardin of the Jewish Museum of Maryland and Joshua Perelman, Chief Curator of the National Museum of American Jewish History. Host Co-Chairs were Stephen Goldman of the Holocaust Memorial Center and Terri Stearn of the Janice Charach Gallery.

Deborah Dash Moore, Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, presented the Keynote Address on Jews and American Cities.

A rich mix of plenary and conccurrent sessions featured presenters from CAJM institutions, as well as these special panelists: Jonathan Alger, C&G Partners; Graham Beal and Nancy Sojka, Detroit Institute of Arts; Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University; Aaron Bisman, JDub Records; Donna Braden and Judith Endelman, The Henry Ford Museum; Clifford Chanin, National September 11 Memorial & Museum; David Egner, Hudson-Webber Foundation and New Economy Initiative; Kirsten Fermaglich, Michigan State University; Janice Freij, Arab American National Museum; Karla Goldman, University of Michigan; Felicia Herman, Natan Foundation; Juanita Moore and Lanesha Debardelaben, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Talking Circles, designed to foster candid and open discussion among small affiliated groups around a shared topic, took place twice during the conference.

Over three days, attendees visited four CAJM member institutions, the Janice Charach Gallery and Shalom Street at the JCC of Metropolitan Detroit; the Goodman Family Judaic & Archival Museum at Temple Israel, and the Holocaust Memorial Center; and also these outstanding Detroit-area museums: Arab American National Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford Museum, Motown Museum, and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History