September 12, 2007

Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles





2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

405 Freeway; exit Skirball Center Drive - Free parking.
Metro provides transportation to the Skirball via route #761.

Call: (310) 440-4500
Fax: (310) 440-4595



Exhibition hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12:00–5:00 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and holidays.

Exhibition admission: $10 General; $7 Seniors 65+ and Full-Time Students; $5 Children 2–12; Free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Ruby Gallery exhibitions are always free to the public. All exhibitions are free to the public on Thursdays.



Open to the public since 1996, the Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity in American life. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. Since its establishment in 1996, the Skirball has welcomed more than five million visitors.

The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore the literary, visual and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; through scholarship in American Jewish history and related publications; and through outreach to the community.

Uri D. Herscher was named Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Skirball Cultural Center in 1996 after having begun work on the Skirball Cultural Center conceptual blueprint in the early 1980s.



The Skirball’s core exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America, traces the history, experiences and values of Jews over 4,000 years. Featuring changing displays of works from the Skirball’s museum collection, the exhibition’s galleries contain multimedia installations, rare artifacts, historical documents and photographs, works of fine art, interactive computer stations and sound recordings that lead visitors on the Jewish people’s journey, culminating with their experiences in the United States. Anchored by the theme of retaining one’s heritage while adapting to life in America, this narrative resonates with a remarkable number of Skirball visitors, over half of whom are not Jewish.

Comprised of more than 30,000 objects, the Skirball’s museum collection includes archaeological artifacts from biblical and later historical periods; Jewish ceremonial objects from countries all over the globe; an extensive group of Old World Jewish objects; the Project Americana collection, comprised of objects that document the “everyday life of ordinary people” in the United States since the 1850s; and works of fine art in a variety of media.



The Skirball presents a diverse range of music, theater, poetry, literary, film and other performing arts. Some of the most important contemporary minds—award-winning artists, philosophers, poets, novelists, filmmakers, critics, public leaders, entertainers and playwrights—engage enthusiastic audiences at the Skirball. The Skirball’s music and dance programs are considered vanguard and among the best in the western United States. The free summer Sunset Concerts series attracts nearly 1,500 visitors each week.



Noah’s Ark at the Skirball, a children’s and family destination designed for generations to enjoy together, open since June 2007 and remain on view permanently. Inspired by the ancient flood story of Noah’s Ark, which has parallels in hundreds of cultures around the world, this indoor and outdoor attraction offers a multi-sensory, interactive experience. Visitors board a gigantic wooden ark to play, climb, build and collaborate alongside handcrafted, fanciful animals—from life-sized elephants and giraffes to snow leopards, flamingos and iguanas. Together families imagine taking an ark voyage from stormy world to dry land and delight in working with one another for a brighter, more hopeful future.

The Noah’s Ark galleries were designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (OSKA), in consultation with the Skirball’s renowned architect, Moshe Safdie. The fanciful animal puppets and figures were created by designer/puppeteer Chris M. Green and by OSKA principal Alan Maskin. Outdoors, the Noah’s Ark experience includes a rainbow mist installation developed by Safdie in partnership with environmental artist Ned Kahn.



The Skirball annually serves over 50,000 children and teachers representing virtually every religious and ethnic background in Southern California. The Skirball’s school outreach programs in cultural history and performing arts draw visitors from all over the region. The family-oriented discovery center, which includes a simulated dig site and field tent, offers a look at the archaeology of ancient Israel and the Near East. Family programs take place regularly and attract new and returning visitors for entertainment and education. Highlights include toddler classes, children’s concerts, art and music workshops, archaeological dig workshops, readings, summer camps and the annual Hanukkah Family Festival. The Learning for Life department offers continuing education courses in comparative religion and culture, art, creative writing, literature and the American Jewish experience.



The Skirball accomplishes its mission thanks to the generosity and active participation of thousands of individuals from all walks of life across the United States and abroad, including a dedicated corps of members, volunteers and docents; distinguished foundations and corporations; and governmental funding agencies. These philanthropic supporters are passionate about the positive and essential force of the Skirball’s mission—to bring people together in positive and hopeful engagement and to change lives by making meaningful connections across generations, communities, histories, ideas and forms of creative expression.


Designed by Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie, the campus of the Skirball Cultural Center is nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains and has been admired for its intimate scale and sensitivity to the natural environment. Among Safdie’s recent and current civic, cultural and educational commissions are: the headquarters of the United States Institute of Peace, Washington, DC; Exploration Place, Wichita, KS; Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California, San Diego; the federal courthouses in Springfield, MA, and Mobile, AL; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, MO; as well as the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Center in Tel Aviv, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR. During his career, Safdie has taught at Harvard, McGill and Yale Universities, as well as several Israeli universities.


On the website of the Skirball Cultural Center you can watch a quick video of daily life at the Skirball.


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