A temporary Museum in Venice

Article by Michela Zanon, from CoopCulture

After a difficult but quite satisfying summer in which we recorded an unexpected number of entries despite the current pandemic, the almost total absence of non-European tourists and the considerable restrictions to be respected in order to guarantee everyone a safe visit, the Jewish Museum of Venice has changed its location.

The historical seat, opened in the fifties and gradually increased over time, will remain closed for at least six months and so will the two oldest synagogues of the ghetto incorporated in the same architectural complex. During these months, part of the planned restoration works, entirely financed by numerous foreign contributors, will be carried out. The Jewish Community of Venice has in fact managed to allocate the funds to an important project to relaunch the Ghetto area, together with a prestigious restoration project for the Synagogues and the museum area signed by the Apml architectural firm of Venice, with the support of Ronald Lauder, the Jérôme Levy Fondation, Save Venice, World Monuments Found, the Rothschild family in its English, French and Swiss branches, Venice in Peril and others.

In order to guarantee the museum's opening to the public and the visit to some cult places, the Community and CoopCulture decided to create a temporary museum, so that the temporary closure of the museum and synagogues as known until now, has turned into an opportunity to discover other places within the Ghetto.

In the temporary museum, where the specialized CoopCulture staff, who have been taking care of the Ghetto museum in Venice for thirty years, will welcome visitors, there will be a rich bookshop open to the public and a museum offer, although reduced compared to the historical location, divided into different sections to tell on the one hand the salient aspects of the Jewish religion and on the other hand the history and life of the ghetto of Venice.

From the temporary museum, in total respect of the Covid19 pandemic prevention rules, guided tours will start to one of the two important Sephardic Schools, the Spanish one until spring and then the Levantine one, with the simple midrashims of 16th century origin in the same buildings (respectively Cohanim and Luzzatto) until now excluded from visits, and the Midrash Meshullanim, from the ancient and beautiful marble Aron, which is also usually not open to visitors.

In compliance with the anti-Covid regulations, visits to the synagogues, educational visits for schools to be held in classrooms, guided tours of the restoration, and, weather permitting, to the Ancient Jewish Cemetery of Lido and the secret garden of the Spanish school will be possible.

At the moment obviously the MEV is closed, like all Italian museums, because of the second wave of this pandemic, and we are organising distance learning, but we want to look to the future with optimism, hoping to be able to leave this difficult historical moment behind us as soon as possible and return to welcome our visitors with new joy and confidence.

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