Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum

Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum

Premieres Thursday, June 27 at 8 p.m. on WLIW21

Premieres Sunday, June 30 at 7 p.m. on THIRTEEN

Streams nationally on and THIRTEEN OTT Apps



Inside a historic mansion on the Upper East Side, a storied institution preserves centuries of heritage and tradition. For more than a century, The Jewish Museum has served as a cultural nexus in the heart of New York City’s art scene, featuring a distinguished collection that reveals personal stories of triumph and adversity. Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum brings viewers inside the world-class institution to explore some of the most powerful and important works drawn from its collection of nearly 30,000 works that reflect the global Jewish experience that spans 7,000 years.


Short Description:

Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum brings viewers inside the world-class institution, exploring artwork that reaches across religion, community and culture.


Notable Interviewees:

  • Claudia Gould – Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director, The Jewish Museum
  • Ruth Beesch – Sr. Deputy Director, Programs and Strategic Initiatives, The Jewish Museum
  • Susan L. Braunstein – Sr. Curator Emerita, The Jewish Museum
  • Nelly Silagy Benedek – Sr. Director of Education, The Jewish Museum
  • Deborah Kass – Artist
  • Arlene Shechet – Artist
  • Josh Russ Tupper – Co-Owner, Russ & Daughters
  • Niki Russ Federman – Co-Owner,  Russ & Daughters


Noteworthy Facts:

  • In 1904, Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated a group of of Jewish ceremonial objects to the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan. Over the years, more items were added to the collection, becoming the foundation of The Jewish Museum.
  • In 1925, the Benguiat collection, an important collection of 400 Jewish ceremonial objects assembled in the 19th century, was purchased becoming one of the founding collections of The Jewish Museum.
  • In 1939, crates containing approximately 350 ritual objects from the Jewish community of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) arrived in the United States for safekeeping during World War II. The collection has stayed at The Jewish Museum since.
  • The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue, the former townhouse of Jewish financer and philanthropist Felix Warburg and his family.
  • In 1963 and 1964 the museum displayed retrospectives of up-and-coming contemporary artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.
  • In 1987, The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth and Justice, an acclaimed exhibition integrating the visual arts and social history, was presented.
  • In 2004, The Jewish Museum celebrated its centennial year by presenting a range of exhibitions and programs highlighted by Modigliani: Beyond the Myth, the first Modigliani exhibition presented in a New York City museum in 50 years.
  • In 2016, the museum opened the first uptown location of famed New York City restaurant Russ & Daughters, which was founded by Polish immigrant Joel Russ in 1914.
  • In April 2019, the museum hosted a large-scale, immersive, installation about singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, featuring works by 14 international contemporary artists inspired by Cohen’s life, work, and legacy. Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything remains on view at The Jewish Museum through September 8, 2019.


Quotes from the Film:

  • “The museum’s collection is encyclopedic. We have a wide range of media and genres in the collection from Paleolithic hand axes to abstract contemporary art. So, it’s very broad. It’s very rich. It’s also very deep.” – Susan L. Braunstein
  • “We want everyone to come, and perhaps if they’re Jewish, to find touchstones to their Jewish identity. If they’re not, to find paradigms of experiences that they can relate to. We all have so much in common. And I think that’s one of the things that we really strive to communicate to our audience.” – Ruth Beesch
  • Collecting treasures, collecting history is so important. How do we know who we are if we don’t know where we came from?” – Arlene Shechet


Run time:  30 minutes


Series Overview:

Treasures of New York explores New York’s cultural heritage by spotlighting its points of interest, distinguished establishments and notable figures.


Websites: /

@WLIW21  / @ThirteenNY / @wnet #TreasuresofNY


Production Credits:

Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum is a production of WLIW LLC for WNET. WNET is the parent company of WLIW21 and THIRTEEN, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

Ann Benjamin is director of Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum. Ally Gimbel is executive producer of Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum. Diane Masciale is vice president and general manager of WLIW21 and executive producer of local production, including the Treasures of New York series.



Funding for Treasures of New York: The Jewish Museum is provided by the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism.




About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.


Download the press release here.


The Jewish Museum, 2018. Photo:

The Jewish Museum, New York, 1993. Photo © Peter Aaron/Esto. All rights reserved.

The Jewish Museum, 2014. Photo: Will Ragozzino/