Oslo Jewish Museum´s (JMO) aim is to collect, keep, research and communicate reliable knowledge on Jewish immigration, life and integration into Norwegian society. The museum’s collections are the foundation on which everything else rests.
JMO aims to be an open and vibrant museum and cultural centre, visible in Norwegian cultural life and politics through publications, lectures, concerts, various exhibitions and further outreach activities. Topics to be covered are Jewish culture, tradition, history and Judaism
Since January 2005, Oslo Jewish Museum (JMO) has rented large parts of the first floor of an old synagogue. It has been essential for the Museum to preserve traces of the old synagogue from pre-war Oslo.
The synagogue building as a cultural memorial
When the JMO started the restoration during the winter of 2005, the building was run-down after decades of non-maintenance. We have, however, found beautiful decorations from the years the synagogue was in use, under several layers of paint.
With the help of amongst others The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), all the original décor has been uncovered where we have found remnants of it, but it is very possible that we can find hidden decorations on what is now the building’s second floor. This part of the old synagogue is at present not accessible. Comprehensive colour samples of the exterior of the building are secured to make sure it would be possible to return it to the original look.
We have received support from the antiquarian authorities in the work to recover the original synagogue. We have also spent a lot of time trying to track down some of the original furnishings. Amongst other items we have traced major parts of the Torah cabinet, sidewalls from the benches, chandeliers, and electric candelabra, together with parts of the railing from the women’s gallery, and religious texts which the rabbi and cantor used.
However, we are still missing many items. Perhaps most importantly, we have yet to find photographs of the exterior and interior of the building from the time it was an active synagogue, able to house several hundred people during the Sabbath and other high holy days.