An American Jewish museum in New York has opened a three-month exhibit showcasing two original drafts of the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

A rare glimpse of the original documents can now be seen at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City until the end of December, in an exhibit focusing on three momentous events in 1917.

Alongside the British foreign secretary’s stated commitment to a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, the museum marks the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution as well as the U.S. entry into World War One.

It describes all three as world events that changed the course of history over the next century.

Visitors to the exhibit, called ‘1917: How One Year Changed the World,’ can also see Lord Balfour’s writing desk, a decoded copy of the Zimmermann Telegram, a Medal of Honour posthumously – and belatedly – awarded to a Jewish soldier, and Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’s judicial robes.

Organisers say the exhibit helps show how American Jews experienced the world in 1917, a year marked by global conflict, revolution and surging anti-immigration sentiment, the shock-waves of which continue to reverberate today.

“It illustrates how, 100 years later, Americans continue to debate, discuss and question the same issues,” said American Jewish Historical Society director Rachel Lithgow. “From immigration to American’s place on the global stage, to women’s reproductive health, our society has not yet resolved these issues.”

Lord Balfour's desk Photo credit: Melanie Einzig.

Lord Balfour’s desk
Photo credit: Melanie Einzig.