Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia 

This page is designed to provide quick, clear, and basic information about the recent changes to the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia and its Jewish Museum & Archives.

Click on any of the questions listed below to navigate directly to its answer. If you have any additional questions, please contact staff at (604) 257-5199 or email info@jewishmuseum.ca.   

  1. What happened to the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia?
  2. What is the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia?
  3. Where are you located now?
  4. If there is no permanent public exhibition space, why do you still call yourselves the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia?
  5. Where is the museum collection?
  6. Where are the Archives?
  7. What's happening at the new location in the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture?
  8. When are you open to the public?
  9. Can I come and do research at the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia?
  10. Where can I find information on the history of Jewish life in British Columbia now that the museum is closed?  
  11. Are you still accepting items for the Archives Collection?
  12. What is the JMABC staff working on?
  13. How can I help?

1. What happened to the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia?

In September 2010, citing multiple factors both financial and practical, the Board of Directors of the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia decided to close the 1500 sq. ft. exhibition space located on the third floor of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver (JCCGV). The museums exhibition displays and artefacts were safely dismantled and removed from the JCCGV.

The administrative offices of the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia were moved to the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture in March 2011.

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2. What is the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia?

The Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia (JHSBC) was created in order to preserve and tell the story of the Jewish people in British Columbia.  The Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia is a non-profit charitable society under the BC Societies Act and the legal name of the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia. The JHSBC operates the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia.

Since 1970, the Society’s work has included operating the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia, publishing a regular journal, The Scribe, authoring several books, recording oral histories of community members throughout the province, and preserving and making accessible the important photographs and records of the Jewish community through the Nemetz Jewish Community Archives, temporary exhibits and educational programs.

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3. Where are you located now?

The offices of the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia are located on the second floor of the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture in Vancouver, BC. The offices include the administrative, archival and programming departments of the Jewish Museum & Archives, as well as research stations, the Irene Dodek Oral History Room and a small reference library.

There are no exhibitions on view within the offices of the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia.

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4. If there is no permanent public exhibition space, why do you still call yourselves the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia?

The definition of a museum has evolved, in line with developments in society. Museums are not just “bricks and mortar” buildings with permanent collections for display. They are dynamic, engaging organizations who constantly seek public input and participation in all aspects of their operations. 

As defined by the International Council of Museums in 2007, and adapted by the Canadian Museums Association; a museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

With this definition in mind, the Board of Directors of the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia decided that “Jewish Museum & Archives” better reflects the scope of outreach, public programs, publications and special projects that the JHSBC provides throughout the year.

You can view virtual exhibitions, browse community videos and photographs from the Nemetz Jewish Community archives  through the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia interactive website.

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5. Where is the museum collection?

The museum collection previously on view within the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver is safely housed at the Nemetz Jewish Community Archives and storage facility in Richmond, BC. Artefacts on loan to the Jewish Museum & Archives of BC were returned to lenders in the Fall 2010. Some items previously on display are available for researchers to view by appointment only. Contact the archivist at archives@jewishmuseum.ca for research inquiries.

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6. Where are the Archives?

After 8 months of planning and preparation, the Nemetz Jewish Community Archives were moved to a new facility in Richmond, BC in May 2010. The new 3000 sq ft facility includes brand new baked enamel shelving and provides a safe and stable environment for the archives.

The Nemetz Jewish Community Archives are currently being processed. Digitized portions of collections are becoming available online through the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia website, Artefacts Canada, Multicultural Canada, and Flickr. To view a full listing of the Nemetz Jewish Community Archives holdings, visit MemoryBC.

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7. What’s happening at the new location in the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture?

The offices of the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia are now fully operational. We are serving scholars and researchers, students and volunteers, and recording interviews as part of our ongoing Oral History Program. Additionally, popular Jewish Museum & Archives programs such as the Philosophers’ Café and workshops are taking place within the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture.

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8. When are you open to the public?

We are open Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. We are available by appointment only on Fridays. Public programs and workshops take place on the last Sunday of each month and weekday evenings. Check our calendar for upcoming events. 

We are closed on all statutory and Jewish holidays.

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9. Can I come and do research at the Jewish Museum & Archives of British Columbia?

Yes, absolutely. Research is available by appointment only. Contact the archivist at archives@jewishmuseum.ca or phone 604-257-5199.

The archivist can perform simple research requests via phone or email up to 30 minutes in length.  For complex research requests over 30 minutes, please contact the archivist to book a research appointment.

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10. Where can I find information on the history of Jewish life in British Columbia now that the museum is closed?

There are many ways to discover the history of Jewish life in British Columbia. You can read back issues of the JHSBC journal, The Scribe, order one of our publications, or view exhibits online. We also offer our popular Historic Walking Tours of Jewish Vancouver and Jewish Victoria for groups throughout the year.

11. Are you still accepting items for the archives?

Donations to the Archives are welcome. Contact the archivist at archives@jewishmuseum.ca or call (604) 257-5199 to discuss what you would like to donate. The Nemetz Jewish Community Archives collects archival records which document the Jewish communities and people of British Columbia.  Acceptable donations include records such as: minutes, correspondence and reports of organizations and societies, as well as personal papers, manuscripts, diaries, speeches and presentations, photographs, oral histories, maps and plans, ephemera, films of events and similar unpublished records.

See our full archives donations policy here.
 

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12. What is the JMABC staff working on?

We are keeping quite busy:

  • We are processing the Nemetz Jewish Community Archives and accepting new material all the time.
  • We are accepting submissions for our next issue of The Scribe, the journal of JHSBC.
  • We are developing temporary and traveling exhibits for various venues throughout the province.
  • We are developing workshops and public programs to take place in the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture.
  • We maintain an active online presence, through this website and a variety of social media – Please follow us on Facebook!
  • We are collaborating with other artistic, cultural and heritage organizations throughout the year.
  • We are actively fundraising to support the archives and outreach education programs.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to our free e-newsletter here:

Join Our Mailing List

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13. How can I help?

Become a JHSBC member, attend our public programs, become a volunteer, or donate to our annual campaign! 

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