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Spertus Museum

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Spertus Museum

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Basic Information

Location 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Phone number 312.322.1700.
Country United States
City Chicago

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Website http://spertus.edu/
Geographical Coordinates 41.87404,-87.6248


Summary

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is a leading educational center in Chicago, Illinois. Not affiliated with any single branch of Judaism, Spertus offers learning opportunities that are rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs include films, speakers, seminars, concerts, and exhibits — at the Institute’s main campus at 610 S. Michigan Avenue, as well as in the Chicago suburbs and online. Spertus offers graduate degrees in Jewish Professional Studies, Jewish Studies, and Nonprofit Management — accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools — as well as professional workshops and a range of public educational and cultural programs. Well-known presenters have included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, author Jonathan Safran Foer, architect Moshe Safdie, hip-hop artist Y-Love,pianist/actor/playwright Hershey Felder,New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and statistician Nate Silver. Honorary degree recipients from 1949 to 2011 have included Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Abba Eban, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, author and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, author and Nobel Literature Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, feminist author Betty Friedan, actor Leonard Nimoy, and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi.


Architecture

Spertus Institute opened an award-winning, new, environmentally sustainable facility at 610 S. Michigan Avenue in November 2007. Designed by Chicago-based Krueck and Sexton Architects, the building features interconnected interior spaces and one-of-a-kind, ten-story faceted window wall that provides spectacular views of the Chicago skyline, Grant Park, and Lake Michigan. This window wall is built from 726 individual pieces of glass in 556 different shapes. The building also houses a 400-seat theater, space for community events, kosher catering facilities, and a book and gift shop. Like the surrounding buildings, many constructed in the period of architectural innovation that followed the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this building is forward-looking in its design and use of materials, while maintaining respect for its important setting. Like the bays of its 19th- and 20th-century neighbors, the facets that create the facade dynamic crystalline form allow light to extend into the narrow building, while expanding the views enjoyed from inside. The geometry of the facade is unique because the surface is constantly tilting in three dimensions, resulting in individual units of glass that are parallelograms rather than rectangles. At the same time, the average size of each of the facade's individual panes of glass is consistent with the standard size of the windows in the buildings up and down Michigan Avenue. The Spertus building was the first new construction in the Historic Michigan Boulevard District after the area was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2002. The cost of the Spertus project was more than $50 million. In 2011, Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary, relocated from its Hyde Park location to the sixth floor of the Spertus building. Academic and administrative tasks of the school now take place in the Spertus building

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