Jewish Museum London's first crowd-sourced exhibition opens

What does Love mean to you?

Don’t miss the Jewish Museum London’s first crowd-sourced exhibition featuring everyday objects, historic artefacts and works of art inspired by love.

Members of the public have submitted their own objects related to the theme of love, with intimate, surprising and moving testimonies of what these objects mean to them, in a new project in partnership with the Cultural Institute at King’s College London.

A selection of over 30 objects will be displayed in the Jewish Museum’s Welcome Gallery alongside treasures from their Judaica collection.

The exhibition includes objects from numerous religious and cultural traditions, including Christianity and Islam, lent by people from across the globe, from America to India.

Objects selected include:

  • Indian and Scottish flag pin, submitted by Meghan Harish

‘Seven years ago, my mother received this pin from a representative of the Scottish government at an India-UK leadership exchange program. She gave it to me, and it stayed pinned on to my middle school pencil case for years. At the time at meant nothing; it was just cute. Now, I am a na´ve second year at university who thinks she may have found the love of her life. I’m Indian. He’s Scottish. So often, love is about serendipity. This pin sits on my notice board as a reminder of how well fortune foretokens.’

  • Caul In Tin, submitted by Zack McGuinness

‘My mum give birth to me, her fourth son, all on her own at home. I was born with my umbilical cord wrapped twice around my neck and shrouded in most of my amniotic sac. The paramedics finally arrived and my mum saved the amniotic sac, knowing that many superstitions lay around the rare occurrence of children born in caul. I was given this tin, which contains the amniotic sac, during a very difficult period of my mid-teens. This gift from my mum was a long-needed embrace, and reminds me of the unconditional love I receive from my neurotic and wonderful mother.’

  • Singles voicemail advert, submitted by Ronna Sauerhoff

‘Met my husband and best friend by placing an advertisement and voicemail for $18 at Jewish Community Center (West Hartford, Connecticut, USA) in-house publication Centerline in 1993. We will be married for 20 wonderful years in February.’

  • Box of errors, submitted by Josh Baum

‘The box of errors is an object born of devotion and love contains many of the mistakes I’ve made over several years working as a sofer, a scribe. It contains quills with which prayers, poems and amulets have been written, as well as the names of God and the names of many betrothed couples. The box also contains all the tools I need as a sofer, including both cut and uncut quills, ruler, scribe’s awl, rose thorn, jeweler’s loupe, ink, ink-thinner, armenian bole, various grades of sandpaper, different shaped knife blades for carving the quills, razor blades for lifting letters off the page, and a small silver yad. Whether a scribe is religious or not, he or she must practice their craft with love and devotion and words written this way are difficult to discard, even if they contain errors.’

Abigail Morris, Chief Executive of the Jewish Museum London said: ‘Museums are about personal stories, they are about objects telling those personal stories. Often the objects are precious, often ancient, and often a bit inaccessible. But this exhibition is about you, your stories. You’ve generously lent us objects that tell your stories and told us your stories too. What has emerged is funny, moving and very accessible. An ordinary object suddenly has meaning, a small thing displayed lets us glimpse into a life. It’s intimate and a privilege.’

Dr Aaron Rosen, Lecturer in Sacred Traditions & the Arts at King’s College London, whose research has informed the project, said: ‘Museums are places to think about our identity: they tell stories relevant to everyone, across time. And what’s more universal than the subject of this show, love? We are used to museums showing us everyday objects from people of the distant past. But what about the present? Aren’t the objects we value and invest with memories and stories today just as special, just as intriguing? I hope this show is part of a fresh new direction in curating.’

Project Manager Carolyn Rosen said: ‘The objects in this exhibition explore love in various forms, from divine to fraternal, parental, and romantic. Yet they also speak to one another in a language of love. For all the disparate religions, cultures, ages and experiences they represent, these objects coexist in thoughtful, respectful camaraderie.’

Your Jewish Museum: Love is the first in a series of three crowd-sourced exhibitions in 2015 produced in collaboration with the Cultural Institute at King’s. Your Jewish Museum is a Cultural Institute at King’s project in collaboration with the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s and the Jewish Museum London.