The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU originated as a grassroots statewide project to retrieve material evidence of the Jewish experience in Florida [since 1763] for a traveling exhibition, MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida. For this purpose volunteer task forces, involving hundreds of people, were organized in communities throughout Florida. The basis of the current collection is from that period (1984-1992) when 6,000 items in the communities were identified for consideration for the exhibition. That exhibition contained over 500 photographs and 200 artifacts that were on loan. When the decision was made to create a permanent museum, each lender was contacted about donating their items to the Museum; most did.
From a collection of 6,000 items in 1992, the Museum now cares for more than 100,000 items ranging from the Museum buildings (restored 1936 Art Deco synagogue and restored 1929 Synagogue, both on the National Register of Historic Places) to a complete bound set of The Jewish Floridian (statewide Jewish weekly begun in 1928 and ending publication in 1990).
This extensive collection of artifacts will receive new life this year (2020) with a reimagined MOSAIC, in celebration of the museum’s 25th anniversary.
Some other significant holdings include: historic still images (photographs, negatives, slides and microfilm); oral history audio tapes and/or transcripts; film and sound recordings; archival materials (documents, newspapers, and other paper materials); textiles; works of art; religious objects; a collection of books for research and reference, and much more.
Collections of the Jewish Museum of Florida, originated by Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Founding Executive Director.