As of early 2018, the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience (MSJE) is closed but will reopen in 2019 in New Orleans. It was formerly a department of the Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL). The museum's collection is in storage but items are used for the Museum without walls and Traveling trunks programs, which are offered throughout the South. Jewish Heritage Tours of major Southern cities are also offered as well. The collection includes synagogue architectural elements, furnishings, stained glass, sculpture, a historic pipe organ, ceremonial objects, and textiles. When the museum opens in New Orleans, it will include interactive and multimedia exhibits to help visitors learn about the rich history Southern Jewish life.
The museum was founded in 1986 to preserve, interpret and document Jewish life in the South. It was located on the grounds of the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica (the camp is part of a large network of camps around the country that provide Jewish children with a place to come together and experience communal living). It became part of the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in 2000. In 2012, the camp wanted to expand, prompting the museum to close its physical location. The process that led to the decision to move to New Orleans began at this time.