The National Museum Of American Jewish History’s Dynamic Exhibition Examines 1917’s Global Impact

1917 is the first exhibition that demonstrates the year's impact on global history...

This spring, the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) features a comprehensive exhibition about the year 1917 and its dramatic impact on the social, political and cultural landscape of the world.

1917: How One Year Changed The World explores the 100-year anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the implementation of the Balfour Declaration, in which Great Britain advocated for a Jewish state in Palestine.

Exhibition Fast Facts

  • 1917: How One Year Changed The World is on view through July 16, 2017.
  • The exhibition includes more than 125 artifacts including letters, photos and more.
  • 1917 is the first exhibition to examine how the events of that year shaped America’s role as a leading international power.
  • Access to 1917: How One Year Changed The World is included with museum admission.

The exhibition also examines the strict immigration policies enacted by the U.S. government at the time, and how these international events fostered intolerance toward immigrants in America.

Through more than 120 artifacts, 1917 provides a specific, first-hand look at how American Jews reacted to these events, and at how these events still have a lingering impact on the world today.

(National Museum of American Jewish History | 1996.51.5. Gift of Marilyn Lavin Tarr)
More than 250,000 American Jewish soldiers who served the U.S. in World War I, which the United States entered on April 6, 1917.


1917 begins with a look at letters, photos, prayer books, uniforms and more from the thousands of American Jewish soldiers who served in the war during America’s involvement in World War I.

Here, you can find photos of Corporal Eva Davidson, one of the 300 women who enlisted in the Navy during the war, a real, decoded copy of the Zimmerman Telegram, which catapulted the U.S. into the war, and the judicial robes of Louis D. Brandeis, the first Jew to sit on the United States Supreme Court.

Also, a fun interactive quiz checks your stance on whether the United States should defend other nations and if it’s patriotic to criticize war efforts.

1917 also examines how other international events affected Jews worldwide and the year’s impact on other social movements of the time.

In addition to a real copy of the Balfour Declaration and letters detailing the American reaction to the new post-Revolution Russian regime, you’ll be able to see Black nationalist Marcus Garvey’s draft card, postcards urging women to support deported activist Emma Goldman’s cause and more.

(Photo by: C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia)
See the full Army uniform and Medal of Honor belonging to William Shemin, who received the honor posthumously for saving fellow soldiers during combat.


Admission to the exhibition is included with regular museum tickets, which cost $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and kids ages 13 through 21. Entry to the exhibition is free for kids 12 and younger. Note that select special events have additional costs.

Special Programming and Events

In addition to the exhibition itself, you can enjoy special programming at the museum centered around 1917.

On March 26, Cracked Voices: Stories of Jewish Political Dissent and Fracture features an afternoon of spoken word performances about stories of Jewish political dissent both in the past and present.

Also, on April 27, the Young Friends of NMAJH host Curated Cocktails, an evening of drinks, a tour of the exhibition and more.

For the full schedule of special events, click here.

1917: How One Year Changed the World at the National Museum of American Jewish History

When:March 17-July 16, 2017
Where:National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall E.
Cost:Members: Free; Adults: $12; Seniors (65 & up): $11; Youth (13-21 or college ID): $11; Children (12 & under): Free; Active Military (with ID): Free



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