More than 70 museum directors and curators, representatives of Jewish Museums in more than 30 cities, gathered from 22 until 26 November 2008 at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. The AEJM Annual conference continued for five days of lectures, presentations and discussions about museum topics, using the venue of the Amsterdam host institution for the demonstration of many aspects of Museum issues. The participation of so many museum representatives is the result of the rapid growth in the number of Jewish Museums in Europe in recent years.
The participants visited the facilities of the Museum, both in public areas and behind the scenes. This exposure to the recently renovated museum areas and newly developed programs greatly enhanced discussions and workshops concerning exhibition presentation, educational programs for the public, collection storage, and the use of digitization both for collection management and for public web access.
Special attention was paid to the issue of children’s programming in the museum world. A special visit was made to the children’s museum section. Meetings with the museum personnel who developed the concepts underlying the children’s museum inspired active discussions and ideas for the establishment of such facilities in other museums.
The conference closed with discussions over two days concerning the critical issue of looted art from WWII and its restitution. The Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam has done extensive research regarding loses from the museum collection during the time of the Holocaust. Representatives of international organizations participated in this part of the museum conference, confirming the central importance of this issue to European Jewish Museums and the contribution of the Jewish Historical Museum through its research and experience.