The Jewish Country House
We are collaborating with Professor Abigail Green at the University of Oxford to explore the Jewish heritage of six key houses.
A Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with Professor Abigail Green at the University of Oxford is helping us to reveal shared Jewish histories across our places, and to connect with the broader European Jewish context. She is working with six key houses - Waddesdon and Hughenden in Buckinghamshire, Nymans in West Sussex, Upton in Warwickshire, Mottisfont in Hampshire and Monks House in East Sussex. The project promotes the Jewish Country House as a distinctive, pan-European phenomenon worthy of study in its own right, with important implications for country house museums and the Jewish heritage industry.
European Open Days of Jewish Culture
The project findings have had exciting implications for public programming at our places, with several houses taking part in the European Days of Jewish Culture in 2018 and committing to do the same in 2019 and beyond. The main goal of this pan-European project is to offer the broader public the possibility to discover several aspects of Jewish heritage and become acquainted with Jewish culture and traditions. Each year the event has a particular theme, a subject which encourages an in-depth look into particular aspects of Jewish Culture. Reacting to the 2018 theme of ‘storytelling’, Hughenden curated an exhibition called ‘Disraeli the Other’, which explored fomer prime minister Benjamin Disraeli’s relationship to his own ‘Jewishness’.
Sharing our learnings
As part of the project, Professor Abigail Green has created a resource pack and provided training to many of our volunteers. In March 2018, a conference at Waddesdon on the theme of ‘the Jewish Country House’ brought together heritage professionals and academics alike. In 2019, we will be building up to a major, international conference at Villa Kerylos in May, which will explore the Jewish Country House across Europe.
Involvement in the Knowledge Exchange Fellowship means we can explore the potential for revealing shared Jewish histories, and establishing connectivity with the broader European Jewish context. We hope to develop this work, and the partnership with Abigail that underpins it, through a substantial research funding bid for a multi-year project.