The Core Exhibition is a journey through 1000 years of the history of Polish Jews – from the Middle Ages until today. Visitors will find answers to questions such as: how did Jews come to Poland? How did Poland become the center of the Jewish Diaspora and the home of the largest Jewish community in the world? How did it cease to be one, and how is Jewish life being revived?
The exhibition is made up of eight galleries, spread over an area of 4000 sq.m., presenting the heritage and culture of Polish Jews, which still remains a source of inspiration for Poland and for the world. The galleries portray successive phases of history, beginning with legends of arrival, the beginnings of Jewish settlement in Poland and the development of Jewish culture. We show the social, religious and political diversity of Polish Jews, highlighting dramatic events from the past, the Holocaust, and concluding with contemporary times.
We present 1000 years of Polish-Jewish coexistence, speaking of cooperation, rivalry and conflicts, autonomy, integration and assimilation. While seeking to confront thorny issues, we also bring attention to bright chapters in our common history.
The Core Exhibition is a narrative: visitors will be drawn into a story told by artefacts, paintings, interactive installations, reconstructions and models, video projections, sounds and words. Our focus is on life, therefore at each stage of the journey we strive to remain close to life by letting people speak – Jewish merchants, scholars or artists from a given era, rabbis, housewives, politicians, chroniclers and revolutionaries. We give the floor to those who perished and to those who survived.
The Core Exhibition opened on October 28, 2014. It was developed by a team of international scholars and curators under the direction of Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, and earlier by Jerzy Halbersztadt. The design was created by Event Communications, a London-based company, and by Nizio Design International from Warsaw. Thanks to these teams, the Core Exhibition employs well-tried methods as well as cutting-edge multimedia solutions.
The design and creation of the Core Exhibition were financed and overseen by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, thanks to the support of donors from all over the world.