The Jewish Museum London has appointed Frances Jeens as its director as part of its 90th anniversary celebrations.
Jeens has been the museum’s interim director for two years and guided the organisation through the Covid pandemic. She was previously director of learning and engagement.
“Leading the museum over the past two years has been a great privilege and I now look forward to working with our committed board, staff and volunteers as we continue to build the museum of the future,” Jeens said.
Nick Viner, the Jewish Museum's chair of trustees, said: “This appointment is in recognition of Frances's fine leadership over the past two years, enabling and encouraging the staff at the museum to deliver outstanding and far-reaching programming, and to bring the museum back onto a sound footing as we continue through these unprecedented times. The board has great confidence in her and the whole team as we move into our next exciting phase of our strategic development.”
The museum is also marking its anniversary with the exhibition The Eye As Witness, created in collaboration with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. The exhibition explores the political and moral motives for witnessing and recording the Holocaust, examining different forms of witnessing including photography, texts and testimony, while encouraging critical thinking on racism and hatred today.
The interactive exhibition includes an immersive VR experience of a Nazi-produced Holocaust photograph, co-created by historian Maiken Umbach and the University of Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Laboratory, and interactive testimony from Holocaust survivors via the National Holocaust Museum’s Forever Project.
The exhibition is a product of research conducted in the multi-disciplinary project Photography as Political Practice in National Socialism, which was led by Umbach and funded by Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project brought together historians, education experts, computer scientists and museum professionals to transform the use of images in understanding the Nazi regime and the Holocaust.
The exhibition will open on Sunday 24 April, with a candle lighting and curators talk for Yom HoShoah on Thursday 28 April.