Collection Services

Information on how to ask reference questions, access the Helzel Collection Study Room, and obtain permissions to reproduce images of the holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.

Reference Services

Please use our online Reference Form to ask reference questions about the holdings of The Magnes, to inquire about research access to the collections, and to request the curatorial review of proposed gifts to The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.

Collection Access

A central mission of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is to make these rich and diverse holdings broadly available to the public for viewing, study, and research.  Magnes collections reside in two locations: The Magnes building at 2121 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley, and The Bancroft Library on the UC Berkeley campus.

The Western Jewish Americana archives of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, which comprise   over six hundred manuscript and pictorial collections, are available to the public at the Bancroft Library. Updated information on their availability can be found here.

Inquiries and requests regarding access to Magnes holdings housed in the Bancroft Library should be directed to Bancroft Library public services staff.

The Museum holdings of The Magnes encompass two main areas: Jewish Art and Jewish Life. The Jewish Art collection includes painting and sculpture, photography, works on paper and artist books, as well as digital and mixed media. The Jewish Life collection includes thousands of objects representing personal and family rituals, synagogue and communal life, and the social interactions among Jewish and host communities in the Global Diaspora throughout history.  These collections are supported by a solid reference library of secondary literature about the role of art in the Jewish cultures and societies of the Global Diaspora available to curators and researchers, and by the Magnes Institutional Archives, which contain a detailed documentation on the research, exhibitions and public programs created by the Magnes since its inception in 1962.

 
Florence Helzel Collection Study

Access to Museum holdings is available for research and teaching purposes in the Florence Helzel Collection Study.  Appointments to view collection materials must be made at least two weeks in advance.  For other conditions of use, see Magnes Collection Access Policy

Research Services hours

Tuesday and Wednesday, 11am – 3pm; Thursday, 11am – 2pm.
Requests for access outside of normal public service hours will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For appointments to access Magnes holdings for research or teaching, contact Gary Handman, Public Services Coordinator:

Reference inquiries and appointments to access materials in the collection may also be made online at www.magnes.org/research/collection-services/ask-reference-questions

In order to plan their visit, researchers are encouraged to make full use of this website, as well as of a variety of online tools:

  • The Magnes collection database, with detailed descriptions and images of thousands of collection items (a search guide is available here)
  • A page listing the Western Jewish Americana archival collections already available to researchers at The Bancroft Library can be found here
  • A current list of processed Western Jewish Americana archival collections can be found on the Magnes OCLC WorldCat profile
  • The descriptions for many of the collections in the Western Jewish Americana archives
  • A variegated online presence through an innovative use of social media, including over 9,000 collection images on Flickr
  • The advanced search functions of this website

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about The Magnes Collection, and plan to visit The Magnes to see the exhibitions on view and the visible storage display.

Permission services forthcoming. More information is available here.
""