The only Jewish museum of Switzerland collects, preserves, researches, communicates and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. With its exhibitions, events and educational programs, the Jewish Museum of Switzerland places Jewish life in a social, cultural and religious context. The Jewish Museum of Switzerland relates stories about the Jews of Switzerland and conveys knowledge of the Jewish religion and history. These efforts contribute to the reduction of stereotypes and prejudice. Temporary exhibitions and events are organized in order to diversify the standard program.
The Jewish Museum of Switzerland was founded in 1966 in Basle. In the same year, the Association of the Jewish Museum of Switzerland was established. The museum is based on a collection formed by the Swiss Museum of Popular Arts (today Museum der Kulturen) from the beginning of the 20th century, but has since greatly increased its number of exhibits. The art historian Dr. Katia Guth-Dreyfus directed the JMS until 2010. Medievist and academic Dr. Gaby Knoch-Mund followed as director. From 2009 onwards the JMS gets a regular grant by the canton Basel-Stadt and since 2014 a conservation project was started with private support and a grant by the Federal Office of Culture.
The JMS is the only Jewish Museum of the country, established in 1966. It exhibits valuable items depicting religious and everyday life. Highlights of the museum include precious silver objects that were meant for private purposes or use during religious services Historically unique are the monumental tombstones and contemporary documents dating from the Middle ages, Hebrew books printed by the famous Basle printing houses, marriage contracts, Purim scrolls. Of particular cultural value are the richly embroidered textiles and Judaica, from Endingen and Lengnau / AG and the neighbouring countries. In addition, the JMS preserves and displays visual documentation from the Zionist Congresses in Basel and original letters from Theodor Herzl. The collection offers a great potential for scientific exploitation. It is continuously expanded through donations and acquisitions of the 20th and 21st centuries.