Magnes Collection Faculty Director Search

October 30, 2013


The University of California, Berkeley is recruiting the first Faculty Director to lead the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.   

The Magnes was established in 2010 at The Bancroft Library after the transfer of the collections of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the Berkeley campus. The Collection includes art, objects, texts, music and archival materials about the cultures of the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West.  As one of the most respected Jewish collections in the world, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life enhances the research collections and Jewish Studies scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is based on the holdings of the former Judah L. Magnes Museum, one of the first Jewish museums in the United States, founded in Berkeley in 1962 by Seymour Fromer and his wife, Rebecca Camhi Fromer. 

Reflecting the guiding concerns of American Jewry after the Holocaust, the Magnes focused on preserving the legacy of vanishing communities around the world. Its founding paralleled the establishment of Jewish studies as an academic field, and the museum continued to involve leading scholars, including UC Berkeley faculty and students, in the development and interpretation of its holdings. Responding to the ethos of pluralism of the 1960's, the Magnes expanded the canon of Jewish cultural history, integrating visual, musical and material cultures with traditional text-focused approaches.

With its new facility in downtown Berkeley (completed in Fall 2011), The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life provides unprecedented access for scholars and the general public to special collections, exhibitions and public programs. The Magnes currently has an operating budget of approximately $750,000, with funding from foundations, individual donors, and program revenue.


The Faculty Director reports to the Director of the Bancroft Library.  The Faculty Director will provide leadership to the Magnes staff in setting priorities and strategic direction for the Collection, augmenting synergies with other academic units on campus, and raising still further the profile of Magnes in the donor community.  Specifically, the Faculty Director will:

(1) Strengthen ties between the Magnes and other Jewish Studies units on campus, such as the Center for Jewish Studies (CJS), the Berkeley Institute (Law), and Hillel;

(2) Facilitate incorporation of Magnes assets into curricular offerings of the relevant academic units on campus;

(3) Augment fund-raising for the Magnes, in collaboration with University Relations and the executive leadership of Magnes; and

(4) Enrich Magnes programming with his/her own Jewish Studies expertise.


The Faculty Director must be currently tenured at  Berkeley, possess expertise in Jewish Studies, and have leadership, fundraising, and administrative abilities.


By December 2, applicants should send a detailed letter of interest, along with an updated CV, to George W. Breslauer, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, 200 California Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1500.  Letters should explain the applicants’ visions for how their leadership would add value to the Magnes.