Skip to main content

A Handsome Museum: Selections From the Henry Sonneborn Collection

Location: Smokler Center for Jewish Life
Dates: November 2009



This historic collection of Judaica, the oldest in the United States, was formed by Baltimore clothing magnate Henry Sonneborn with the assistance of several faculty members from Johns Hopkins. It was donated to the university in 1902, but had been in storage or out on long-term loan for nearly 100 years. Several developments at Hopkins, including the establishment of programs in Jewish studies and museums and society, made it a fitting time for the collection to be returned from its most recent home at Temple Oheb Shalon. A portion of the collection went on view in November 2009 at the Smokler Center for Jewish Life in an installation that paid homage to Sonneborn’s dream of creating “a handsome museum” for teaching and research. The installation was curated by Museums and Society student Sarah DePaolo ’09, with the assistance of Suzanne Gold ’10.