October 12, 2018 – February 10, 2019

Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare is a multi-sensory exhibit that explores the intersection of politics, art, economics, and the social dynamics that impacted the American First Amendment rights of speech, religion, and assembly during Hollywood’s Red Scare. Through personal narratives of those who were blacklisted, members of House Un-American Activities Committee or HUAC, and film executives, Blacklist examines the shifting definition of what it meant and means to be a patriotic American. Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare is an originally curated.


Thursday, November 1, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Museum Members $6 |Non-members $10

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel as he tells the compelling story behind the classic American Western High Noon, and the toxic political climate in which it was created. Starring screen legend Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in her first significant film role, High Noon became a cultural touchstone, often cited by politicians as a favorite film, celebrating moral fortitude.

Yet what has largely been forgotten is that High Noon was made during the height of the Hollywood blacklist, a time of political inquisition and personal betrayal. In the middle of the film shoot, screenwriter Carl Foreman was forced to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about his former membership in the Communist Party. He faced a test of conscience: accuse others of subversion or be fired from his job. The blacklist was a test for our democracy as well—one with many echoes in our own perilous era.

Glenn Frankel worked for many years for the Washington Post, serving as bureau chief in London, Southern Africa and Jerusalem, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for “balanced and sensitive reporting” of Israel and the Palestinians. He went on to teach journalism at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he directed the School of Journalism. He has won the National Jewish Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His newest book is High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic (Bloomsbury, 2017), which the Washington Post called “a sumptuous history” and the Los Angeles Times has praised for its “grace and accuracy.”

Victim and Villain: Jewish Responses to the Red Scare

Wednesday, November 14, 7:00 pm
Museum Members $5 |Non-members $8
‘Pick 3’ Deal: Museum Members $15.00 $12.00 | Non-members $24.00 $20.00

Jews are often portrayed as victims of the Red Scare, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. What was Jewish anti-communism? And when was it most fervent?

Join Larry Ceplair, Blacklist scholar and author, for a detailed look at the roots of Jewish anti-communism. Jewish communists, blacklistees, and atomic spies raised fears in the Jewish community that a wave of anti-Semitism might be provoked, which led to a strident Jewish response to Communism. Ceplair will particularly focus on the infamous trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the Jews who were especially vocal advocates for their ultimate capital punishment, and will also comment on the role Jews played in the Hollywood Blacklist.

Larry Ceplair received a B. A. from UCLA (1964) and a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin (1973). He was a private secondary school teacher from 1972-1983. He taught history at Santa Monica College, from 1983-2004. He is the author or co-author of eight books, including The Inquisition in Hollywood, The Marxist and the Movies, Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America, and Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical. He oversaw the UCLA Oral History Program on the blacklist, and he curated an exhibit about the Hollywood Blacklist at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2002).

November ‘Thirds-day’ (Third Thursday)

Thursday, November 15, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Film screening begins at 5:30 pm
Regular Museum Admission Applies

Did you know on the Third Thursday of each month, Jewish Museum Milwaukee is open late? That’s right – we stay open until 7:00 pm so you have extra time to explore our exhibits! We are screening The Boy With Green Hair, a 1948 American comedy/drama film direct by blacklistee Joseph Losey and staring the young Dean Stockwell.

The Boy With Green Hair is a gentle anti-war fable in which a war orphan, Peter, awakens one day to find that his hair has turned green. This makes him an object of ridicule in his small town, where the locals call for the boy’s head to be shaved. After running away, the child dreams of other war orphans who urge him to return to the town and make its citizens aware of how simple differences can escalate into armed conflict.

Blacklisted: A Concert

Saturday, December 1, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Arts Center Lecture Hall, Peck School of the Arts
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
(2200 East Kenwood Blvd.)
Museum Members $25 | Non-members $35

In the 1940s and 1950s, hundreds of famous American singers and songwriters were accused by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) of being communists or communist sympathizers. Regardless of testimony given in the HUAC court hearings, many of these artists were silenced by being blacklisted by the music industry.

Hear Chicago’s finest cabaret talents perform the songs that HUAC never wanted you to hear – a concert of songs written or made famous by blacklisted artists such as Leonard Bernstein, Yip Harburg, Lena Horne, Burl Ives, Zero Mostel, Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, and more!

Hollywood on Trial with Tony Kahn

Thursday, December 13, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Museum Members $5 |Non-members $8
‘Pick 3’ Deal: Museum Members $15.00 $12.00 | Non-members $24.00 $20.00

The Hollywood Blacklist did not just impact those who could not work, but the entire family was affected by the ongoing stress of unemployment, surveillance, and accusations. Radio producer and personality Tony Kahn will share his experiences as a child of a blacklistee. He will address the psychological challenges of this upbringing and detail the intergenerational strife and isolation that were hallmarks of his childhood.

Kahn has done significant research into his family’s story to create a powerful radio play which starred Stockard Channing and Carol O’Connor. His father Gordon Kahn was a successful screenwriter who wrote a defense of the Hollywood Ten entitled Hollywood on Trial in 1948. His father was under FBI investigation from 1944 until his death in 1962.

Kahn has produced work in various media but is best known for his work in public radio, and is a regular panelist on the NPR quiz show Says You! He produced and directed the WGBH program Morning Stories and hosted its podcast version, public radio’s first. He was the original host of PRI’s The World, and a contributor to Minnesota Public Radio’s Savvy Traveler. From 1982 to 1985, Kahn hosted a regular social commentary segment on WCVB-TV’s nightly newsmagazine Chronicle.

Kahn produced, wrote, and narrated Blacklisted, a six-part public radio series about his childhood as the son of a blacklisted screenwriter, starring Ron Leibman and Carroll O’Connor and featuring Stockard Channing, Eli Wallach, Julie Harris, Jerry Stiller, Spalding Gray, Scott Simon, Susan Stamberg, and Daniel Schorr. He has won numerous broadcasting awards including twelve New England Emmys, six Gold Medals of the New York International Festival, the Ace Award, three Gabriel Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Feature Reporting.

December ‘Thirds-day’ (Third Thursday)

Thursday, December 20, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Film Screening and Intro begins at 5:30pm
Regular Museum Admission Applies

Did you know on the Third Thursday of each month, Jewish Museum Milwaukee is open late? That’s right – we stay open until 7:00 pm so you have extra time to explore our exhibits! We are screening Salt of the Earth with an introduction by Raul Galvan, Manager of Program Production at Milwaukee PBS. Salt of the Earth is a 1954 American drama film written by Michael Wilson, directed by Herbert J. Biberman, and produced by Paul Jarrico. Galvan will address why the writer, director and producer were all blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment.

Salt of the Earth centers on a long and difficult strike, based on the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico. In the film, the company is identified as “Delaware Zinc,” and the setting is “Zinctown, New Mexico.” The film shows how the miners, the company, and the police react during the strike. In neorealist style, the producers and director used actual miners and their families as actors in the film.

Annual Christmas Cinema: Roman Holiday

Monday, December 25, 12 – 4 pm
Regular Museum Admission Applies

Looking for something fun to do Christmas Day? Come to Jewish Museum Milwaukee to enjoy the radiant and stylish love story starring a luminous Audrey Hepburn and handsome Gregory Peck, Roman Holiday. The screenwriter of Roman Holiday, Dalton Trumbo, refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee’s investigation of communist influences in the motion picture industry. He, and hundreds of other industry professionals, was subsequently blacklisted.

Overwhelmed by her suffocating schedule, touring European princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) takes off for a night while in Rome. When a sedative she took from her doctor kicks in, however, she falls asleep on a park bench and is found by an American reporter, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), who takes her back to his apartment for safety. At work the next morning, Joe finds out Ann’s regal identity and bets his editor he can get exclusive interview with her, but romance soon gets in the way.

We will begin screening the film at 1:00 pm and should end around 3:00 pm, giving you enough time to view permanent and special exhibits before or after the film.

Book Club: The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Wednesday, January 9, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Museum Members & CJL Educators FREE | General Public $5

Learn about the allegorical references in Arthur Miller’s 1953 iconic play The Crucible with the Coalition for Jewish Learning and Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

The Crucible is a story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the seventeenth-century. Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.

Miller wrote the play as an allegory to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “witch-hunts” in the United States. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.

A LOMED (Learning Opportunity for Milwaukee Educators) program sponsored by the Coalition for Jewish Learning. Offered in connection with Blacklist: Hollywood’s Red Scare, an exhibit on display at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, October 12, 2018 – February 10, 2019.

January ‘Thirds-day’ (Third Thursday)

Thursday, January 17, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Regular Museum Admission Applies

Did you know on the Third Thursday of each month, Jewish Museum Milwaukee is open late? That’s right – we stay open until 7:00 pm so you have extra time to explore our exhibits! Stick around because immediately following ‘Thirds-day’ we are presenting “The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government” with scholar David Johnson.

The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government

Thursday, January 17, 7:00 pm
Museum Members $5 |Non-members $8
‘Pick 3’ Deal: Museum Members $15.00 $12.00 | Non-members $24.00 $20.00

The McCarthy era is generally considered the worst period of political repression in recent American history. But while the famous question, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” resonated in the halls of Congress, security officials were posing another question at least as frequently, if more discreetly: “Information has come to the attention of the Civil Service Commission that you are a homosexual. What comment do you care to make?”

Historian David K. Johnson here relates the frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a “Lavender Scare” more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy’s Red Scare. Relying on newly declassified documents, years of research in the records of the National Archives and the FBI, and interviews with former civil servants, Johnson recreates the vibrant gay subculture that flourished in New Deal-era Washington and takes us inside the security interrogation rooms where thousands of Americans were questioned about their sex lives. The homosexual purges ended promising careers, ruined lives, and pushed many to suicide. But, as Johnson also shows, the purges brought victims together to protest their treatment, helping launch a new civil rights struggle.

The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of “national security” during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.

Hollywood’s Friendly Witness: Elia Kazan

Thursday, January 31, 7:00 pm
Museum Members $5 |Non-members $8
‘Pick 3’ Deal: Museum Members $15.00 $12.00 | Non-members $24.00 $20.00

Jeff Smith, Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, will discuss director Elia Kazan’s status as Hollywood’s most notorious “friendly witness.”

During his career, Kazan directed blockbuster films including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden. By the time he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he had already won an Oscar for the controversial film Gentleman’s Agreement.

Although Kazan publicly defended his testimony, his films display a rather ambivalent attitude toward the HUAC hearings. This ambivalence can be seen in specific moments from Viva Zapata, Man on a Tightrope, and On the Waterfront. Smith will also offer a brief overview of the manuscript collections in the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research related to the Hollywood blacklist.

Jeff Smith is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. He is the author of two books: The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music and Film Criticism, the Cold War, and the Blacklist: Reading the Hollywood Reds. He is also a coauthor, along with David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, of the 11th edition of Film Art: An Introduction.

The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR) is one of the world’s major archives of research materials relating to the entertainment industry. It maintains over three hundred collections from outstanding playwrights, television and motion picture writers, producers, actors, designers, directors, and production companies. Materials preserved include: historical records and personal papers, twenty thousand motion pictures, television shows, and videotapes; two million still photographs and promotional graphics; and several thousand sound recordings. It is richest in records of the American film industry between 1930 and 1960, American popular theater in the 1940s and 1950s, and American television from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The Blacklist: A Tarnish on Hollywood’s Golden Age

Sunday, February 10, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Free with the cost of Admission

David Fantle and Tom Johnson authored Hollywood Heyday: 75 Candid Interview with Golden Age Legends. The book features a selection of 75 interviews from celebrities like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Debbie Reynolds and so many more.