The Magnes Museum, established in 1962, closed its doors permanently in early March and will become a part of the Jewish Studies program of the University of California, Berkeley.
The Magnes Museum (aka the Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum) is best known in the hobby because of The Jewish-American Hall of Fame art medal series that was launched in 1969 as a project of the museum. In 2000 it became a division of the American Jewish Historical Society.
The original museum building was a converted mansion at 2911 Russell Street in Berkeley. It appeared on the very first numismatic item issued by the museum in 1968: a wooden shekel designed by Mel Wacks.
The only time the building appeared on a medal was in 1982 when Sculptor Marika Somogyi created one to commemorate the museum’s 20th anniversary.
Magnes Museum’s reference and other collection services are expected to resume in 2011 at a new Berkeley location.