The Maine State Museum’s newest exhibition “Maine + Jewish: Two Centuries” will open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and will feature free admission. The exhibit will be on view through Thursday, Oct. 25, at 230 State Street.

Three years in the making, the exhibition will present the experiences of one of Maine’s most enduring communities, from 19th-century immigrants to more recent residents and summer visitors. It has been organized by guest curator Amy E. Waterman, of Brunswick, and is supported by museum staff, an advisory committee of scholars and community members, and a partnership with Colby College’s Center for Small Town Jewish Life.

The exhibit gives voice to generations of people from every corner of the state, illustrating how Jewish life has become an essential part of Maine’s rhythms and character. It looks at such subjects as: where and why Jews settled in Maine; religious traditions; obstacles to full integration in Maine and barriers overcome; working lives; Jewish summer camps and tourism; agencies that served Jewish citizens; and organizations that have made community service an essential part of Jewish life.

One of the exhibit’s most dramatic and unique artifacts is a majestic, Art Deco-style Torah ark, dating from the 1930s. The museum acquired the ark from the former Beth Abraham Synagogue in Auburn. Museum staff and contractors meticulously dismantled it, then moved, stored and finally reassembled it in the museum exhibit gallery.

For more information, contact Sheila McDonald at 287-6603 or [email protected].

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