BOOKING A GROUP VISIT
Tell us about your group by completing this form, or contact the Group Services office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.923.3811 x 141 so that we may help you plan an informative and engaging visit.
Group visits may be self-guided or, for an additional fee, your group may enjoy a guided tour led by one of our experienced docents. You can review the various types of tour available below. Additionally, you may wish to check whether the Museum will be offering any special programs and lectures on the day of your visit, or whether other cultural add-ons are available that your group might also wish to take advantage of.
Smaller parties (fewer than 15 people) interested in booking a private guided tour should still submit this form or contact Group Services as indicated above. Guided tours are only available by advanced reservation through Group Services.
Group visit and guided tour pricing can be found here.
GUIDED TOUR OPTIONS
Please note that the tours listed below are designed for adult and family groups. For guided activities and lessons for school and camp groups, please visit the Education pages.
Geared to and highly recommended for first-time visitors to the Museum, this tour offers an overview of 350+ years of the American Jewish experience, from 1654 to the present. Covering all three floors of the Core Exhibition, the tour explores key artifacts and stories in the context of the ongoing challenges and opportunities presented by unprecedented freedom. This is a great way for visitors to become oriented to the Museum’s many galleries, objects, films, and interactive components.
Some topics may have size or date limitations, depending on docent availability.
American Jewish Writers
Jews in America have often used the written word - whether in music, literature, or theater - to express their experiences and struggles. In illustrating the lives of the authors’ own communities, many of these works have become representative of American life broadly. This tour explores the development of American Jewish culture through the writings of Emma Lazarus, Leon Uris, Allen Ginsberg, Betty Friedan, Phillip Roth, and Chaim Potok.
American Jews and American Law
From the tenets of Jewish liturgy that helped shape America’s Constitution, to the contributions of American Jews who fought to uphold this nation’s principles of freedom and justice, this tour offers profound insights into the American Jewish experience. Such diverse individuals as naval officer Commodore Uriah Levy, labor activist Rose Schneiderman, and Supreme Court justices Louis Brandeis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are featured.
America’s History of Imperfect Freedom
Although coming from different places and for different reasons, the Jews immigrating to America over the centuries have all shared a common dream: to live in freedom. But the freedom they found here has been imperfect, tainted by anti-Semitism, racism, and discrimination. This tour explores how prejudice and social injustice, and responses to it, have shaped both the American Jewish community and its relationship to American society at large.
Art, Creativity, and Design
Jews in America have been creating works of art since colonial times, developing new ideas and styles in painting, photography, architecture, and material-culture design. This tour explores the factors that shaped these artists, and the ways in which their works express the diversity of American Jewish experiences. Individuals highlighted include silversmith Myer Myers, sculptor Sir Moses Jacob Ezekiel, and the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Jews and the American Frontier
Whether braving the unsettled West or spearheading the flight to the suburbs, Jews have long pushed the boundaries of traditional American life, helping to shape the United States. This tour focuses on the role of Jewish immigrants in the settling of the American “frontier,” exploring what it means to be a pioneer, literally and figuratively. The adventures of Levi Strauss, Anna Solomon, Otto Mears, and Rachel Calof are among those featured.
Women in American Jewish History
From housewives, mothers, and keepers of Jewish tradition to social activists, community organizers, and champions of civil rights, this tour examines the changing roles of women from the 1650s to the present day, exploring the contributions they made to both Jewish and American life. Abigail Franks, Rebecca Gratz, Henrietta Szold, Emma Goldman, and Betty Friedan are among the notable women whose stories are highlighted.
Groups who have experienced the Introductory Tour, exploring all three floors of the Core Exhibition, may wish to return for an in-depth look at a single floor, concentrated on a particular period of time. The following options are available:
The Foundations of Freedom Tour
This tour of the 4th Floor (the first floor of the Core) covers the period from 1654 to 1880, and includes such engaging stories as the first 23 Jews to arrive on these shores and their lives in the early colonies; the role of Jews in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; and changes in the Jewish Community during America’s westward expansion. Among the fascinating individuals encountered are George Washington, Rebecca Gratz, Levi Strauss, and Ulysses S. Grant. Even experienced history buffs may discover they still have things to learn on this journey!
The Dreams of Freedom Tour
This tour of the 3rd Floor examines the period from 1880 to 1945. From our award-winning "Dreams of Freedom" media piece to the shirt-waist factory installation, the early galleries present an engrossing view of the opportunities and challenges facing European immigrants who entered American life between 1880 and 1924. The latter galleries cover World War I through the Holocaust and World War II. An array of stories, both entertaining and disturbing, are featured, including the trial of Leo Frank; the Jewish moguls in Hollywood; Louis Brandeis’ role as Zionist spokesman; and the U.S. State Department’s actions during the Holocaust.
Tours of Special Exhibitions
Guided tours focusing on any special exhibition currently on view may be available. Please inquire when you reach out to Group Services.