Events accompanying the exhibition Jukebox. Jewkbox! A Jewish Century on Shellac and Vinyl

Plakat wystawy szafa grająca! Żydowskie stulecie na szelaku i winylu.
fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

History written on gramophone records

In the late 19th century, a German-Jewish emigrant to the USA changed the world. With Emil Berliner’s invention of the gramophone and the shellac record, the age of mass entertainment found its first global medium. Over a period of one hundred years, shellac (natural resin) and vinyl (polymer) were the sound carriers of popular culture. All the experiences of the 20th century, its utopias and catastrophes, illusions and hopes have been condensed on the black discs.

The Jewish experience of the 20th century also found its expression on records – beginning with the cantorial music which could now be listened to on records at people’s homes for pleasure and entertainment, to various interpretations of folk and klezmer music. From songs from the Yiddish theatre becoming popular on Broadway to the creation of punk music rebels.

The record, mass produced and guided by collective taste, was at the same time an expression of individual identity and a ritual object. Jewish experience of the 20th century, too, has found its expression on vinyl records – from the introduction of synagogue music into the middle-class Jewish home to the reinvention of Jewish folk music; from the career of Yiddish theatre songs on Broadway to the rebels of punk.

The history of shellac and vinyl is also a history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters. Their music – the sound of the 20th century and its best-known songs, musicals, and soundtracks – was not always a “Jewish“ music, but still a product of Jewish experience.

Jukebox. Jewkbox! presents this history from the first gramophones and shellac records to the dissolution of this medium in the World Wide Web – a journey of discovery through unfamiliar worlds of popular culture, accompanied by personal stories about records that have changed very many lives.

The original exhibiton Jukebox. Jewkbox! A Jewish Century on Shellac and Vinyl was produced at the Jewish Museum in Hohenems, Austria. The Polish edition is enriched with the section dedicated to Polish-Jewish composers, performers and entrepreneurs of the entertainment industry. The visitors will also be able to admire phonographs and gramophones from the local collections, as well as listen to reminiscences of Polish artists.

Streisand, Ramones i Fogg

Hundreds of recordings, interviews and original records. Phonographs and gramophones. Finally, a specially constructed jukebox which will play music related to the exhibition.

We will see the records and will listen to recordings from, among others, the famed Fiddler on the Roof, as well as tangos and foxtrots performed by the orchestra of Jerzy Petersburski and Artur Gold. Popular songs from films written by Henryk Wars and sung by stars such as Zula Pogorzelska ad Mieczysław Fogg.

The exhibition will also feature songs by Neil Sedaka, Bob Dylan or The Ramones. We will listen to New York jazz, Polish big beat as presented by Śliwki or Następcy Tronów, modern interpretations of klezmer music by The Klezmatics or Kroke and, last but not least, the amazing Barbara Streisand!

Tour with a musician

Outstanding Polish musicians will act as exhibition guides – they will talk about their favourite recordings, collections of records and inspirations. In the second part of the evening they will meet with the public and illustrate their stories with live music.

  • 9 February – Jarosław Bester,
  • 9 March – Ola Bilińska (tour with audiodescription),
  • 13 April – Karolina Cicha,
  • 11 May – Mikołaj Trzaska,

6 PM, free admission, reservation required, RESERVATION >>

In the footsteps of Jewish music – tour for adults

During a unique thematic walk through parts of the core exhibition and the temporary exhibition we show how the music stemming from Jewish rituals found its way to taverns, concert halls and how it was preserved on records.

26 February, 23 April, 12 noon, tickets: PLN 12, PLN 8 reduced, BUY TICKET >>



22 April, Saturday

Record Store Day – vinyl music fair

The largest edition so far of the international festival which promotes independent record stores and the comeback of vinyl records. The visitors will be able to purchase classic records, listen to them as well as… wash them with a special flannel. The programme includes: equipment, poster and gadget fair, meetings with private collectors and representatives of record stores, as well as a DJ playing music on vinyl records. 

10AM-7PM, free admission

Sounds from the woodwork – a workshop for children aged 4-10 and their guardians

We will find out what sounds wooden objects can produce. We will also chisel in wood with both traditional and modern tools.

11 AM - 12.30 PM; tickets: PLN 30 (1 child + guardians)

Dust & Grooves – a meeting with Elion Paz

Eilon Paz is a photographer and record collector. He combined his two passions in the Dusts & Grooves - Adventures in record collecting album which is dedicated to passionate collectors, just like himself.

22 April, 4 PM, free admission

Cadillac Records, dir. Darnell Martin – a film screening

A fiction film about the 1950s and 1960s Chess Records company, founded in Chicago by immigrants from Poland, brothers Leonard and Phill Chess. The film features, i.a. Adrien Brody and Beyoncé.

22 April, 4 PM, free admission


23 April, Sunday

Can silence be enjoyable? – a workshop for children aged 4-10 and their guardians

What did people hear 100 years ago and what do we hear now? Can silence be a good thing? Does nature make music? Avant-garde musician Dawid Adrjańczyk will help us seek answers to these questions.  

23 April, 11 AM – 2 PM, tickets: PLN 30 (1 child + guardians) BUY TICKETS >>

Musical inspirations – a workshop for adults

We shall make music together with Ola Bilińska, a singer, author of lyrics and composer of music inspired by Jewish motifs. 

23 April, 12 noon – 2 PM, free admission, reservation required

I listen, therefore I am. The Identity of Music – a discussion

Does music itself have an identity, or is it conveyed by a composer? Or perhaps music contributes to our identity? The critics Dorota Szwarcman and Mirosław Pęczak will seek answers to these questions.

23 April, 2 PM, free admission

TIKKUN, dir. Kuba Kossak – a film screening

A film about imprivisation. It tells a story of a meeting of musicians from various corners of the world which took place in Sejny.

4.30 PM, free admission



The Jukebox Children’s Day – a family workshop

Children’s Day at POLIN Museum – how to whirl while tangoing? How to jump while dancing to foxtrot? We will play, listen and dance to the sound of Jewish hits; we will also construct musical instruments. There will be plenty of snacks and surprises. And at the end of the day, we will all enjoy an interactive concert!

11 AM – 4 PM; free admission

Tribute to Ryszard Sielicki – a family concert

Ryszard Sielicki – a composer, disciple of Dimitr Shostakovich, head of the Polskie Nagranie record company, author of music for radio and theatre plays. His life is a reflection of many experiences of Polish Jews in the 20th century. His music and pieces will be evoked by, i.a. Jerzy Rogiewicz aka Jerz Igor, and Igor Nikiforow who, together with their friends from the Warsaw independent music scene, compose music for the youngest audiences.

3 PM, free admission

Amy, dir. Asif Kapadia – a film screening

The story of Amy Winehouse, an exceptionally talented songstress from a London Jewish family. A collage of both private and official footage from the recording studios, the film was awarded, i.a. the Oscar and the European Film Award.

4.30 PM, free admission