Opened on May 9th, 1999, the Jewish Museum of Bologna (MEB, Museo Ebraico di Bologna) was established with the aim of preserving, studying and promoting the rich cultural Jewish heritage deeply rooted in Bologna as well as other places in Emilia Romagna. Due to the relatively small Jewish presence in Bologna and Emilia Romagna (500 individuals divided between Bologna, Ferrara, Modena and Parma), the museum was developed primarily for non-Jewish visitors. Besides Judaism from its origins to nowadays the main theme of the museum is the ancient presence of Jews in Bologna and Emilia Romagna.
Different media (video, graphics and CD-ROMs) help both visitors and specialized researchers analyze the thousand-year-old history of the Jewish population, which is also narrated by testimonies coming from synagogues, cemeteries, former ghettos (furnishings, religious artifacts, sacred books). Historic itineraries outside the museum are also suggested.
The Jewish museum system of Emilia Romagna has its informative and cultural base in Bologna Jewish Museum and an architectural, artistic, educational and documented heritage in Bologna territory.
The museum covers an area of 800 square metres, divided into three sections: 'permanent exhibit', 'temporary activities' and 'documents and library'.
In the "permanent exhibit" section of the museum a visitor can learn about the history of the Jewish identity. This history is illustrated through its span of almost 4000 years.
The 'temporary activities' section promotes a rich schedule of weekly initiatives: courses and workshops on language, Jewish art and culture, conferences, book presentations, meetings and debates, shows and concerts, guided tours and workshops. Furthermore, the museum organizes trips to learn more about the rich Jewish artistic historical heritage.
The temporary activities section also houses a bookshop specializing in Hebrew texts. With nearly 800 titles, it offers a complete overview of Jewish culture.
The third section hosts a library with more than 2000 volumes, a document archive and internet access for visitors, necessary for consultations about museum content.
In 2000, Bologna Jewish Museum won a prestigious award as the best organization for museum communication in 1999 from the Italian Association for Industrial Design.
Bookshop, educational area, temporary exhibition hall, conference hall, access for the disabled. The Jewish Museum of Bologna organizes guided tours on Sundays at the museum that examine some fundamental points of Jewish history and tradition in Bologna.