Update from Mike, Phil & Ben

It’s been a while since we have given the community an update on the progress of the Milton Mendel and Marsha Kleinberg Jewish Omaha Heritage Center. Eisterhold Associates, the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society (NJHS), and the JFO have been working diligently on putting together all of the content – the text narratives, artifacts, and images – that will be placed on walls and in multimedia throughout the museum space. NJHS recently completed a very thorough set of narratives to be utilized throughout the space. These are both the blocks of texts you frequently see throughout museums as well as the overall content that guides the placement of artifacts, photos, and other materials. In addition, we’ve identified the major artifacts and photographs to be used throughout the museum, including bringing back the Riekes exhibit.

Our next step will be to gather community representatives to read through the narrative material and provide feedback to make sure we are telling a compelling and complete story about our Jewish community. These contributors are being organized in the next week to provide a final review of our content.

Simultaneously, Eisterhold is working on developing oral histories for the exhibit. NJHS has sent them a sampling of their collection, and Eisterhold is editing them down to find compelling narratives and pairing that with related images to add additional context. Think of these as “short documentaries” which will be accessible from a searchable touch screen in the museum space. Eisterhold has also completed detailed drawings of the architectural, electrical, and lighting requirements of the space so that, over the fall and winter, a contractor can build the extra walls needed for the final product.

Finally, Jon Meyers, Ben Justman, and Phil Malcom recently traveled to St. Louis to select a fabricator who will complete all the fine details of the installation (wall graphics, casework, A/V, mounting artifacts, etc.). The fabricator we chose (Icon Design) is the company that is working on the new Holocaust museum in St. Louis, and we had the opportunity to visit their shop and see their work up close. We were very impressed and think they will be a great partner when we are ready to begin the final installation.

We are still on target for the timeline we sent out to the community this spring, meaning the Kleinberg Heritage Center should be complete next summer. We want to be sure to stress that this project has not fallen by the wayside. We have design and content meetings with Eisterhold every other week, and we’ve been actively working through the content to make sure we are telling the most compelling story possible. We have committed to having everything installed by August 1, 2023, if not earlier. You should start to see some more activity in that space soon as we build out the new walls!

Shabbat Shalom,

Mike Siegel
JFO President

Phil Malcom
Interim CEO

Ben Justman
NJHS President