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Skirball Cultural Center

Set high above the 405 Freeway along the Sepulveda Pass, this museum, special-event and performance complex is devoted to exploring Jewish heritage and its connection to liberal democracy in the U.S. Funded by real estate developer and film producer Jack Skirball and his wife, Audrey, this sprawling campus of Jerusalem-quarried stone was designed by Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie and opened in 1986, just months after Jack’s death.

The Center’s permanent collections include biblical-era artifacts; works of art by famous Jews from the U.S. and elsewhere; memorabilia from the first Jewish diaspora to America in the 1850s; an assortment of global Judaica and a series of short films. For children in particular, a huge, interactive indoor playground/art installation called Noah’s Ark features pairs of colorful, life-sized animals.