Religion in Museums

When museums and religion collide

The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow – the largest Jewish museum in the world?

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Eithne Nightingale

IMG_8097a The restored Bahmetevsky bus garage originally designed by Konstantin Melnikov

The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, that opened in Moscow 2012, is said to be the largest Jewish museum in the world. It is housed in the restored Bahmetevsky bus garage, originally designed by Konstantin Melnikov, a leading light of the avant-garde in the 1920s. Melnikov was associated with the Constructivists but refused to be bound by any style or conform to Stalinist architecture.

IMG_8101a Reception of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre

But I find it difficult to appreciate the vaulted ceilings, the clean angles and the interior lighting used to convey slanted rays of sunlight. The space is crammed full with huge displays, panoramic film screens, intriguing white figures and high tech gizmos.

IMG_8174 White figures stroll through the space

“It must have cost a fortune,” says my friend.

Russian oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich, the Federation of Jewish Communities of…

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