God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Visions of Maurice Schmidt’s Texas

“God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Visions of Maurice Schmidt’s Texas”
Art Exhibit to Open at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience

NEW ORLEANS, January 9, 2023 – A new Special Exhibition featuring the works of Texan and Jewish artist Maurice Schmidt will open at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience (MSJE) on January 26, 2023, and run through May 31, 2023.

Titled “God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Maurice Schmidt’s Visions of Texas,” the exhibition features 23 artworks, including paintings, sketches, prints and sculpture, colorfully depicting scenes both rural and religious, created over Schmidt’s long career. A centerpiece of the exhibition will be the painting, “Herdsmen are we, both we and thy fathers,” a large oil on canvas work that is being donated to MSJE by Schmidt.

Schmidt states that his work, though often illustrating pastoral, workaday scenes such as cows grazing in fields and farmhands transporting livestock, is always in reference to the divine. “There are holy spaces between the soil and the tractor above, between trees and their shade,” the artist has said, noting, “Art that would praise God must touch the human heart.”

Several of the works on display portray more explicitly religious and Jewish subject matter, such as a stark Biblical print entitled “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” and a vibrant painting of three men draped in prayer shawls, carrying Torahs.

“This is the first collection of fine art paintings that we’ve exhibited,” said Kenneth Hoffman, MSJE Executive Director. “It gives us another way to explore Southerness, Jewishness, identity and community – this time through the lens of one man’s creativity and talent.”

Schmidt was born into a Jewish family in 1936 and grew up in New Braunfels, Texas. He studied art at the University of Texas at Austin and at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and taught in the Art Department at Texas A&M University for over forty years. His work has been shown throughout the US and internationally, including in an exhibition in Tel Aviv.

The museum will present several public programs and art activities while this exhibition is on view. See the events page for more.

The Maurice Schmidt collection is on loan to MSJE from the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in Texas.

1. Exhibition poster
2. Herdsmen are we, both we and thy fathers. Maurice Schmidt, 2012. Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience.
3. Torah Reading. Maurice Schmidt, 1986. San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.

Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience receives USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award

Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience receives USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award
MSJE voted by the public as a top five winner in the Best New Attraction category

NEW ORLEANS, January 3, 2022- The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience (MSJE) is pleased to  announce that they have been awarded the fifth spot in the Best New Attraction category for the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards. Twenty nominees were chosen by a panel of relevant  experts and the public was allowed to vote for the attraction of their choice.

The Best New Attraction category had a diverse list of nominees from across the country, from skate  parks and adventure centers to museums and immersive experiences. MSJE, located in New Orleans,  Louisiana, took the fifth spot in the top ten list, was the contest’s highest ranked museum, and the only  nominee in Louisiana. The Museum investigates the diverse experiences of Jews in the American South  from Colonial times to present day. Through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and stories, the museum  dives into a wide array of themes that connect visitors of all backgrounds.

“This award is a huge accomplishment for the Museum to receive within such a short time frame from  when we opened in May 2021,” said Kenneth Hoffman, Executive Director. “Despite opening in the  middle of a pandemic, MSJE has quickly gained recognition as an important center for cultural  exploration and a vibrant tourist destination. The Museum appreciates the support it has received from  the people of New Orleans, supporters from across the South, and thousands of visitors from around  the world.”


USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY’s  mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation.  Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the  pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation — today, tomorrow and for  decades to follow. USA TODAY, the nation’s number one newspaper in print circulation with an average  of more than 1.6 million daily, and USATODAY.com, an award-winning newspaper website launched in  1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with  more than 16 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:  GCI)

Meet Our Designers

Learn more about the award-winning team behind the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience’s exhibit design.

We are pleased to be working with Gallagher & Associates, the renowned design firm that developed creative exhibits at The National WWII Museum, The National Museum of American Jewish History, The National Archives Museum, and many other museums around the world. In January 2019, we hosted Gallagher & Associates for a site visit to review the future home of the MSJE at 818 Howard Avenue in downtown New Orleans.

The Museum has the challenge of presenting more than 300 years and 13 states’ worth of Southern Jewish history in about 9,000 square feet of space. To do this, we are designing exhibits that tell the overall arc of Southern Jewish history through carefully selected stories. These stories will personify specific events, attitudes, and experiences in a way that best educates, engages, and entertains our visitor.

During Gallagher & Associates’ visit to New Orleans, the Museum team discussed ways to engage visitors of diverse backgrounds to create an interactive and meaningful environment. While we have concluded the initial site visit with Gallagher & Associates, your perspectives are vital to the success of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. Click here to take our survey and join the MSJE team.