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September 11, 2015
With generous support from the Spitz Foundation, highlights from Spertus Institute's world-class collections of Jewish art and artifacts can now be viewed online, from your computer, tablet, or phone. Enjoy high-resolution photos, informative videos, and rich information for further study.
With generous support from the Spitz Foundation, highlights from Spertus Institute's world-class collections of Jewish art and artifacts can now be viewed online, from your computer, tablet, or phone. Enjoy high-resolution photos, informative videos, interactive maps, and rich information for further study.

7th Floor

September 13, 2015 to January 3, 2016
In 1934, a Jewish autonomous region was established in Birobidzhan (sometimes spelled Biro-Bidjan), Siberia. This Jewish region emerged from a Soviet policy that encouraged each ethnic group to contribute to the building of socialism by settling its own territory (or oblast) and developing...
In 1934, a Jewish autonomous region was established in Birobidzhan (sometimes spelled Biro-Bidjan), Siberia. This Jewish region emerged from a Soviet policy that encouraged each ethnic group to contribute to the building of socialism by settling its own territory (or oblast) and developing its own language and culture. Yiddish was declared the official language of the Jewish Oblast and a proletariat secular culture was bolstered. The area boasted Yiddish newspapers, schools, a library, and a theater. In 1937, a group of progressive Jewish artists from Chicago created a portfolio of prints in support of the project. The participating artists were active in the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal government program that carried out public works projects during the Great Depression.

First Floor Vestibule

August 30, 2015 to January 17, 2016
Howard Schwartz (shown below in his studio) is both an accomplished artist and an avid family historian. He combines the past and the present in mixed media portraits inspired by his family story, a story that, like that of many Chicago families, begins its American chapter...
Howard Schwartz (shown below in his studio) is both an accomplished artist and an avid family historian. He combines the past and the present in mixed media portraits inspired by his family story, a story that, like that of many Chicago families, begins its American chapter with merchants on Maxwell Street. Howard's great-grandfather was a cobbler in Poland during the 19th century. His son — Howard's grandfather — followed him into the business and immigrated to America in the early decades of the 20th century. He settled near Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market and worked his way up from a dealer in used shoes to a retailer with a storefront shop. During WWII the business moved to Wicker Park and the next generation — Howard’s father and his brother — assumed leadership.

Online Exhibit

October 1, 2013
We are proud to present a selection from Spertus Institute's Muriel Yale Collection of Antique Maps of the Holy Land and the Ottoman Empire. Enjoy this online-only exhibit from the comfort of your own chair. Please note that there is no corresponding physical exhibit currently on display.
In History of Cartography, authors Harley and Woodward define maps as “graphic representations that facilitate a spatial understanding of things, concepts, conditions, processes or events in the human world.” Maps mesh artistic representation and scientific reality, and this commingling is seen nowhere better than in maps of the Holy Land, which often portray vivid biblical scenes literally on top of geographical territory (see, for example, Thomas Fuller’s Issachar).