A Promise Fulfilled In 1942, Garrison Siskin seriously injured his leg when stepping onto a train. Hospitalized and in severe pain, Garrison, a deeply religious man, prayed to God that if his life and leg were spared, he would dedicate himself to helping those in need. God answered Garrison's prayer, and his brother Mose joined him in his vow. The fulfillment of this promise resulted in a tradition of generosity which still is seen today through a variety of programs and services for children, families and professionals that Mose and Garrison pioneered. The Siskin brothers, who were members of the Jewish faith, believed that if you could understand a person's religious views, you could know that person more fully. Although Mose and Garrison died more than 30 years ago, their belief in preserving and appreciating the many religions of the world lives on in the Siskin Museum of Religious Artifacts.
About the Collection The Siskin brothers commissioned Rabbi Harris Swift to collect the artifacts that would fill the museum. Through the 1950s, Rabbi Swift made a series of trips to Europe to locate and purchase religious artifacts, particularly those from Judaism. As a rabbi in England during World War II, Swift was influential in helping save and resettle Jewish refugees from Europe, including a number of artifact dealers. Artifacts recovered on his later trips became the core of the museum's collection. The Siskin Museum of Religious Artifacts contains over 400 religious pieces, 247 Judaic and 140 Christian, ranging from the 16th to the 20th century. Other religions and philosophies represented in the museum are Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and others.
Time and Location Open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule a guided tour, call 423.648.1700. The Siskin Museum of Religious Artifacts is operated by Siskin Children's Institute.
Take a look at some of the artifacts in the museum.