New and here to stay: the JHM Children's Museum  17 December 2006

On Sunday 17 December 2006, the permanent JHM Children's Museum will open in the presence of Job Cohen, the mayor of Amsterdam. The JHM Children's Museum is now an integral part of the Jewish Historical Museum. Everyone is welcome during a festive open house from 11.00 to 19.00.

In the JHM Children's Museum, children and adults alike have a chance to call on the Jewish Hollander family at home. Father, mother and each of their three children experience being Jewish in their own way. Meet the family members in films made especially for the museum by Dutch filmmaker Frans Weisz. In different rooms of the house, various aspects of Jewish culture are explored. This provides children with a taste of the versatility of Jewish life and a chance to see that there are not only differences but similarities with their own lives and family traditions.

The design of the JHM Children's Museum is playful and interactive. A 'tasty tough guy' named Max the Matzo, conceived by artist Ram Katzir, makes visitors feel right at home. He guides guests through all the rooms, where activities based on Jewish tradition enable children to learn through firsthand experience. They can bake hallahs (braided bread), write their names in Hebrew and play musical instruments. Also everyone is encouraged to think about and discuss the important theme: Love your neighbour as yourself. Applying this precept in daily life is easier said than done. As a wise man named Hillel taught long ago, begin with basics: What is hateful to you, do not unto your neighbour.

Though the JHM Children's Museum is especially geared towards 8-12 year olds, all ages are welcome. Visiting teachers are given a helping hand to better acquaint students with Jewish culture and history in a clever manner. The content of the JHM Children's Museum appears both in Dutch and English. Key texts have also been translated into Hebrew. A text by the Dutch poet and playwright Judith Herzberg inspired composer Jeff Hamburg to write a special musical composition. The Hollanders and their close family friend Frank Groothof perform this piece in the music room.

The JHM Children's Museum is the successor to the temporary exhibition Where Mokum Is Home, which fifty thousand children visited between 2000 and 2005. Thanks to the experience acquired during this pilot project, the awarding of the Prince Bernhard Culture Museum Prize in 2002 and the support of many others, this permanent JHM Children's Museum has now been realized.

Please note: In connection with visiting school groups, the JHM Children's Museum has special opening hours for individual visitors. Please call or check our website: www.jhm.nl (also for info about birthday parties, etc).

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