Belz Museum Celebrates Tenth Anniversary


What started as mere perusing in an Asian art gallery evolved into one of the nation’s great treasures of Asian art.  The Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art, formerly the Peabody Place Museum, will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year.  Since its opening in 1998, the Museum located in downtown Memphis has been the subject of high praise from critics, curators, and others in the art community from across the world. 


The museum was founded in 1998 by Jack A. Belz, president and CEO of Belz Enterprises, and his wife Marilyn Belz, who donated a substantial portion of their personal art collection to establish the foundation for the museum.  Dating back to 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Belz amassed a collection that is reflective of the rich artistic and historic legacy of Chinese culture.  Belz drew inspiration for the museum from his childhood, when he avidly collected timepieces, purchasing every clock and watch he could find at antique shops and gift shops. 


The museum maintains over 900 pieces of art, with some on year-round display and some rotated periodically.  The museum contains approximately 22,000 square feet of exhibit area and has seen three major expansions in seven years.  In 1999 the museum completed the last of its nine galleries.  The latest addition is the Judaica Gallery, which was formally opened in January of last year. The gallery features modern Jewish ritual objects, paintings and sculptures by contemporary Israeli artists, and a selection of parchments and paper cuts, all once part of the Belz’s private collection. The opening of this gallery also coincided with a name change and brand re-launch that same month. The official name of the museum was changed to Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art to better reflect the scope and history of the collection.

One of the newest editions was the Judaica Gallery, which was later unveiled in its entirety in 2004.


The museum continues to host enriching events and offers student and adult programs throughout the year.  Each year it celebrates one of the most sacred traditions in Chinese history, the Chinese New Year.  The museum hosts a day of activities for the entire family, turning the blues-laden downtown Memphis into a cultural display of ancient Chinese customs.  Additionally the museum strives to promote educational and cultural awareness by maintaining partnerships across communities, such as recent collaboration with the Confucius Institute of the University of Memphis. 


Future plans for the museum include a volunteer docent program and a museum membership program.  To the credit of Mr. Belz, the museum has emerged as a centerpiece of downtown Memphis that serves a critical role in both the development of the urban center and the cultural identity of the city.


The official anniversary will be observed in Fall 2008 and the museum plans to honor the occasion with numerous activities and special exhibits.  For more information about the Belz Museum, visit or call 901-523-ARTS.