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National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, United States

Saturday 13 Oct 2007

A beacon of freedom

Polshek Partnership Architects 
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Jewish History Museum by Polskek Partnership Architects breaks ground 

A relocation and new building are expected to boost visibility and visitation for the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH). Located in Philadelphia on a prominent site across from the Liberty Bell and two blocks south of the National Constitution Center, the new 100,000 square foot building, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, broke ground in September. Two independent and contrasting volumes define the building’s exterior. A translucent glass prism expresses the museum’s accessibility, the openness of America and the fragility of democracy while a second terra cotta volume, behind which is located the Museum’s collections and principal exhibition spaces, stands for the solidity of the liberties that protect all Americans. Inside the glass enclosure, at the uppermost levels, a glowing beacon evokes the torch of the Statue of Liberty as it alludes to the five thousand year history of Judaism and the freedoms that have assured it continuity. The new six-storey building, which is expected to open in 2010, will house expanded exhibition spaces, an education center, a 200-seat theatre, and a gift shop.

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