Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, The
2021 East 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK 74136
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Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm
Sun: 1pm - 5pm
Seniors (55+): $5.50
Free admission to Museum Members, school teachers with school ID, "Blue Star Familier" and uniformed services
From 1966 until 1998, The Fenster Museum was located in Tulsa's Congregation B'nai Emunah Synagogue. In 1999, plans to relocate to a new facility in south Tulsa were initiated and the Museum name was changed to honor Sherwin Miller, the founder who first envisioned a Judaica collection in Tulsa. A vigorous capital funds campaign was undertaken and the construction of the Fenster-Sanditen Cultural Center was underway by the spring of 2002.
The Cultural Center houses the:
- Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art
- The Herman & Kate Kaiser Holocaust Collection
- The National Council of Jewish Women Holocaust Education Center
- The Oklahoma Jewish Archives
The Museum, destined to become a major cultural resource in the region, began the process of moving from temporary quarters and installing exhibits in September of 2003 and had its grand opening/dedication in November 2004. It is a 501c3, non-profit corporation, administered by an independent Board of Trustees and is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa
The permanent collection of more than 10,000 works includes:
- Archaeological pieces
- Ritual and life cycle objects
- Ethnographic costumes
- Synagogue textiles
- Historical documents and fine art.
The Museum functions as an educational resource (particularly Holocaust education) rather than an art repository, and the collection is used specifically to interpret Jewish life and culture across time and space. Thousand of students and educators tour the facility for this purpose during the school year and are supported by the Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW).
The Education Center was dedicated in April 1995, fifty years after the liberation of Dachau by members of the Oklahoma 45th Infantry Division. The dedication took place during the Tulsa Jewish community's annual observance of Yom HaShoah, the event that commemorates the victims of the Nazi genocide. The photograph, donated by a local veteran, depicts Dachua after liberation.
The National Council of Jewish Women Holocaust Education Center features an introductory panel with this text:
The word Holocaust means "wide spread destruction". By the end of World War II, six million European Jews had been destroyed. Many other people were also killed by these systematic atrocities, including Gypsies, political dissidents, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, labor unionists and those with mental or physical disabilities."
"European history is darkened by instances of anti-Semitism, but the Holocaust was unique in scope, barbarity and the concentration on the murder of one people (genocide). Moreover, anti-Semitism was given legal sanction by the German Government, which devised a program referred to by the code name "THE FINAL SOLUTION", whereby the entire Jewish people were to be wiped out by means of persecution, enslavement, and extermination."
"Throughout the war, Jews were forced to leave their homes for imprisonment and death in concentration camps established by the Germans. Originally the plan was to eliminate all Jewish men, women and children by mass shootings, two million perished in this way. Four million more were killed by poison gas, starvation, disease or by forced labor in the camps."
"By the end of the war, one third of the Jewish population of Europe had been murdered. A thousand years of European Jewish culture had been obliterated."
The Sherwin Miller Museum Collection contains hundreds of objects donated by Oklahoma veterans who took part in the liberation of German concentration camps. Other artifacts were brought to Oklahoma by Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. Many are mementos of those who died in the Holocaust, others dedicated in memory of them by their families. These Oklahomans have made their stories part of the Holocaust Education Center at the Museum in order to bear witness to the terrors they encountered during the Hitler regime.