Open until 14 April 2024
A State Library Victoria and British Library exhibition

Discover the history and traditions of one of the world’s oldest cultures through an exhibition of rare items from the 11th to the 21st centuries. 

Luminous: A thousand years of Hebrew manuscripts explores the significance of the written word as a foundation for contemporary Jewish practice, showing ancient manuscripts as part of a dynamic and diverse living culture.

Spanning a millennium of history, Luminous illustrates the beauty and importance of Hebrew texts through items about Jewish life, culture, science, religion, philosophy, music and magic.

The exhibition provides access to rare and significant manuscripts that explore the significance of the written word as a foundation of Jewish culture and tradition, centring the lived experience of Australian Jews here and now.

Open until 14 Apr 2024

Keith Murdoch Gallery
State Library Victoria
328 Swanston Street

Exhibition highlights

State Library Victoria

Luminous features manuscripts from the Library’s David Hailperin Collection. The Library also has further collections of Judaica in its Manuscripts Collection, including holdings of Australian Jewish Historical Society items.

British Library

The British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts collection encompasses manuscripts, archives and documents across different cultures and subjects, including one of the most important Hebrew manuscripts collections in the world.

Jewish Museum Australia

Comprising more than 20,000 items from historical and contemporary Judaica to manuscripts, fine art and everyday objects, the Jewish Museum of Australia collection represents the Australian Jewish experience.

From the Library blog

Introducing Luminous: A thousand years of Hebrew manuscripts

Paul Forgasz, Cultural Consultant for Luminous, discusses the exhibition's key themes, highlights and curatorial considerations.

Introducing Luminous: A thousand years of Hebrew manuscripts

Family history and genealogy

The Library has a rich array of family history resources and guides to help you find out more about the lives of your ancestors and relatives, including a growing collection of sources for Jewish genealogy. Begin your search online with our family history research guides or family history tools and resources or visit the Library’s Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Family History Reading Room to access the Library's renowned family collection – widely regarded as the most popular family history collection in Australia.

Family history and genealogy

Become a Member

Enhance your arts and culture experience at Australia’s oldest public library with a Cultural membership.

Become a Member
Education program

The Library provides a range of programs to support both primary and secondary students, from research basics and critical thinking to subject-specific sessions and self-guided visits.


State Library Victoria is a place where the participation and contribution of all Victorian communities are valued. The Library is committed to ensuring we’re accessible by all. Find out more about access and inclusion and explore exhibitions through accessible resources, including exhibition labels, sensory maps, audio recordings and more.