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The Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives collects, preserves and interprets the history and culture of Richmond's Jewish community.

The Museum was established in 1977 to gather and preserve the existing records and artifacts concerning Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome and Congregation Beth Ahabah, as well as those documents essential to understanding the Richmond and Southern Jewish experience. Its collections are housed in an early 20th century house adjacent to the congregation's sanctuary, and features three galleries of changing exhibits. These exhibits are seen by over 1500 visitors annually, and the museum's archival research center receives inquiries from around the world.

The Museum's collections—including original documents and personal, sacred, and secular artifacts from the 18th to the 21st centuries—reveals hundreds of stories that paint a picture of Richmond's Jewish community and the significant roles Congregation members played in building the city. The core of the collection is the congregational documents of Beth Shalome and Beth Ahabah. A visitor will also find genealogies, Civil War correspondence, immigration papers, over 1000 photographs from rare ambrotypes to contemporary snapshots, and a wide variety of ritual objects from Kiddush cups to Hannukah menorahs.

Notable Items in the Collection

Click to enlarge
Polish Brass Hanukkah Menorah, 19th Century
  • A copy of George Washington's letter, dated 1791, replying to a congratulatory letter by the Hebrew congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Richmond
  • A 1723 Ketubbah (marriage contract) illuminated with signs of the zodiac
  • A Masonic ritual book, The New Ahimon Rezon, printed in Richmond in 1791
  • Past Masters' Jewels from the Fraternal Masonic Lodge #53 (Richmond)
  • A Richmond-made silver Kiddush cup, crafted by Henry Hyman in 1851
  • Confederate War Bonds, bearing the signature of Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State
  • Silver ceremonial objects created by Jewish craftsmen during the Civil War era
  • Portraits of families who immigrated to Richmond in the 1830's and 40's
  • Hand-painted 19th century Torah binders
  • The cornerstone of a German synagogue, burned during Kristallnacht in 1938
  • A selective Holocaust collection


We encourage you to visit the Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives at 1109 West Franklin Street. The museum is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. For information on exhibits, guided tours, lectures or volunteer opportunities, please call (804) 353-2668. Suggested donation is $5 per person. Click here for directions to the museum.

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bama@bethahabah.org 1109 West Franklin Street Richmond, VA 23220 804-353-2668 Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives