EXHIBITION: Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl at the Jewish Museum till October

The listening table and the display of LPs
Photo credit: Jon Holloway


Sebastian writes:

A new exhibition opened last week and will run throughout the summer until October 16th. It is entitled Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl. It is about the music, the technology the people in popular music. There is technology on display from early gramophones to the iPod. And interactive exhibits, and the possibility to listen. Plus a huge range of album sleeves along the walls. There is a fair represention of music from the Jewish community which is directed exclusively towards the Jewish community. But above all the exhibition underlines quite how extensive the reach of both Jewish artists and people behind the scenes in the music industry has been into the  worldwide marketplace for music, and into broader popular culture.

A section of the exhibition focusing on jazz


There is a section (above) which celebrates and remembers the Jewish influence on jazz - not least the fact that the founders of Blue Note were refugees from Nazi Germany.

Quoting the Press Release 

"Jukebox, Jewkbox! takes visitors on a musical journey of discovery through popular culture, featuring records that changed lives and the technology that made it happen. In the late 19th century, a German-Jewish emigrant to the USA changed the world. With Emil Berliner’s invention of the gramophone and the record, the age of mass entertainment found its first global medium.

In an interactive exhibition that takes this moment in history as its starting point, Jewish Museum London explores the experience of the 20th century through shellac and vinyl, celebrating the history of Jewish inventors, musicians, composers, music producers and songwriters.

The exhibition opens with an exploration of the development of technology and the record business, including early examples of gramophones and shellac records, and the hugely popular Dansette, an iconic and fashionable record-player which doubled as a stylish piece of furniture, designed in London in the 1950s by Russian-Jewish immigrant Morris Margolin.

The 20th century Jewish experience also found its expression on records, from the introduction of synagogue music into the middle-class Jewish home to the reinvention of Jewish folk music; from the career of Yiddish theatre songs on Broadway to the rebels of punk. A central display tells over 40 audio stories with musicians, artists, producers, and music fans recounting ‘My favourite Jewish record that changed my life’.

The exhibition also celebrates the record sleeve, with almost 500 examples from various genres, from cantorial to punk, from comedy to serious education, from Yiddish theatre to Arab-Jewish music, from folk music to Israeli and other pop music. Visitors can hang out in the ‘Jewtube’ lounge and watch music videos. Curator Joanne Rosenthal said “Jukebox, Jewkbox! celebrates the role Jews have played in the history of recorded music, both from an artistic standpoint and as industry influencers.

Visitors are invited to take a personal journey, exploring the soundtracks and stories of one hundred years of shellac and vinyl. Camden Town, with its rich and colourful musical heritage, is an ideal setting to tell this story.” This exhibition was developed by the Jewish Museum Hohenems, Austria in collaboration with the Jewish Museum Munich."

Quote Ends

LINK: Jewish muesum website
ADDRESS: Raymond Burton House 129 – 131 Albert Street London NW1 7NB 
OPENING: Daily till 16 October 10am – 5pm (Friday: 10am – 2pm)