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Israel Museum

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Israel Museum

800px-Israel - Jerusalem - Shrine of the Book.jpg

Basic Information

Location 31.772379°N 35.204524°E
Phone number 02-6708811
Country Israel
City Jerusalem

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility yes
Website http://www.english.imjnet.org.il/htmls/home.aspx
Geographical Coordinates 31.77146,35.20403


The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A uniquely designed building on the grounds of the museum, the Shrine of the Book, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and artifacts discovered at Masada. Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek was the driving spirit behind the establishment of the museum, one of the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. The Museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. In just forty-five years, thanks to a legacy of gifts and generous support from its circle of patrons worldwide, the Museum has built a far-ranging collection of nearly 500,000 objects, representing the full scope of world material culture. with some 7,000 objects and works currently online. The director of the museum is James S. Snyder, former Deputy Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, who was appointed in 1997. Mr. Snyder oversaw a 100 million dollar campaign to renovate the museum and double the gallery space. The renewed museum opened on July 26, 2010. An integral component of the Israel Museum’s campus renewal project was the complete reconstruction and re-installation of its three collection wings for archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life, each now centrally accessible through the new gallery entrance pavilion. Merging the Museum’s new curatorial vision together with innovative installation design, the renewed galleries enable visitors to navigate intuitively through the Museum’s encyclopedic collections, following the timeline of material culture from prehistory in the ancient Near East to contemporary art worldwide. The museum covers nearly 50,000 sq. meters. It attracts 800,000 visitors a year including 100,000 children to its Youth Wing. The Samuel and Saiyde Bronfman Archaeology Wing contains various archaeological finds. It has the largest collection of artifacts from Israel in the world.


Opening hours: Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 10 am – 5 pm Tues 4m – 9 pm Fri and holiday eves 10 am – 2 pm Sat and holidays 10 am – 5 pm

Tickets: Adult- 50 NIS Student- 37 NIS Children- 25 NIS

Archaeology Wing

The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing tells the story of the ancient Land of Israel – home to peoples of different cultures and faiths – using unique examples from the Museum’s collection of Holy Land archaeology, the foremost holding in the world. Organized chronologically, from prehistory through the Ottoman Empire, the transformed wing presents seven “chapters” of this archaeological narrative, weaving together momentous historical events, cultural achievements, and technological advances, while providing a glimpse into the everyday lives of the peoples of the region. This narrative is supplemented by thematic groupings highlighting aspects of ancient Israeli archaeology that are unique to the region’s history, among them Hebrew writing, glass, and coins. Treasures from neighboring cultures that have had a decisive impact on the Land of Israel – such as Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Italy, and the Islamic world – are on view in adjacent and connecting galleries. A special gallery at the entrance to the wing showcases new findings and other temporary exhibition displays. Highlights on view include: "House of David” inscription (9th century BCE), A comparative display of two shrines (8th–7th century BCE), The Heliodorus Stele (178 BCE), Royal Herodian bathhouse (1st century BCE), Hadrian’s Triumph: Inscription from a triumphal arch (136 CE), Gold-glass bases from the Roman Catacombs (4th century CE).

Shrine of the Book

The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts. The scrolls were discovered in 1947–56 in 11 caves in and around the Wadi Qumran. An elaborate planning process of seven years led to the building's eventual construction in 1965 which was funded by the family of David Samuel Gottesman, the Hungarian émigré, the philanthropist who had purchased the scrolls as a gift to the State of Israel. The shrine is built as a white dome, covering a structure placed two-thirds below the ground. The dome is reflected in a pool of water that surrounds it. Across from the white dome is a black basalt wall.[9] The colors and shapes of the building are based on the imagery of the Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, whereas the white dome symbolizes the Sons of Light and the black wall symbolizes the Sons of Darkness. The interior of the shrine was designed to depict the environment in which the scrolls were found.[6] There is also a permanent display on life in the Qumran, where the scrolls were written.[6] The entire structure was designed to resemble a pot in which the scrolls were found.[9] The shrine was designed by Armand Bartos and Frederick Kiesler, and was opened in 1965. As the fragility of the scrolls makes it impossible to display all on a continuous basis, a system of rotation is used. After a scroll has been exhibited for 3–6months, it is removed from its showcase and placed temporarily in a special storeroom, where it "rests" from exposure. The museum also holds other rare ancient manuscripts and displays The Aleppo Codex, which is from the 10th-century and is believed to be the oldest complete Bible in Hebrew.

Second Temple Model

Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE, and provides historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Originally constructed on the grounds of Jerusalem’s Holyland Hotel, the model, which includes a replica of Herod's Temple, is now a permanent feature of the Museum’s 20-acre (81,000 m2) campus.

Fine Arts Wing

The Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing reflects the wide-ranging, interdisciplinary nature of the Museum’s collections, encompassing works of art from across the ages in Western and non-Western cultures. The wing has been reorganized to highlight connections among works from its diverse curatorial collections, which include: European Art; Modern Art; Contemporary Art; Israeli Art; the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; Asian Art; Photography; Design and Architecture; and Prints and Drawings. Installations are organized to underscore visual affinities and shared themes and to inspire new insight into the arts of different times and places, as well as an appreciation of the common threads of human culture. The reconfigured wing includes the Museum’s first permanent galleries for Israeli art; more than doubled gallery space for the Museum’s extensive collections in modern art; providing meaningful connecting points between Western and non-Western holdings; and a full 2,200-square-meter (7,200-square-foot) gallery floor devoted to changing displays from the Museum’s collection of contemporary art. Highlights newly on view include: The Noel and Harriette Levine Photography Collection, The Jacques Lipchitz Collection, Gustave Courbet, Jura Landscape with Shepherd and Donkey (ca. 1866), Alberto Giacometti, Diego in the Studio (1952), Ohad Meromi, The Boy from South Tel Aviv (2001).

European, Modern and Israeli art

The Israel Museum holds a large collection of paintings representing a wide range of periods, styles, subjects and regions of origin. Painters in the collection include such international figures as Rembrandt, Marc Chagall and Camille Pissarro as well as such Israeli and Jewish artists as Abel Pann and Reuven Rubin. The Israel Museum’s commitment to Israeli art is central to the Museum’s mission. As Israel’s national museum, it plays a major role in preserving Israel’s artistic heritage by collecting works by Israeli artists - in Israel and abroad - and by encouraging Israel’s artists to develop in their careers. The Museum’s Israeli Art collection spans the late 19th century through today, and it reflects the evolution of Israel’s cultural history in the visual arts. The Information Center for Israeli Art provides scholars and the interested public with comprehensive archival information on several thousand Israeli artists, including biographical notes, press materials, videos, photographs and other forms of documentation.

Wing for Jewish Art and Life

he Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life presents the material culture of Jewish communities worldwide, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and is conceived to provide a view of Jewish life that integrates both its sacred and its secular dimensions. Showcasing the aesthetic value of objects as well as their social and historical significance, the comparative display unfolds in five themes that highlight the individual and the communal, the sacred and the mundane, and the heritage of the past, and the creative innovations of the present. The reconfigured wing includes a new Synagogue Route, unique to the Israel Museum, containing four synagogue interiors from the continents of Europe, Asia, and the Americas; a dramatic introductory display focusing on the Jewish life cycle that features singular treasures from the collections relating to the ritual ceremonies of birth, marriage, and death; a new gallery space to showcase the Museum’s holdings of rare illuminated manuscripts; and the integration of works of contemporary art and Judaica. Highlights on view include: Maimonides’ Mishne Torah (15th century), Zedek-ve-Shalom Synagogue (18th century), the newly restored Fishach sukkah (19th century), Burial society (hevra kadisha) carriage from Hungary (19th century), Ogadéro necklace and bracelets from Izmir, Turkey (late 19th century), a Man’s hooded cape (akhnif) from the Atlas Mountains (late 19th–early 20th centuries).

Art Garden

he Billy Rose Art Garden is a 20-dunam garden featuring modern and abstract sculptures. The Art Garden, designed for the original campus by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, is counted among the finest outdoor sculpture settings of the 20th century. An Oriental landscape combined with an ancient Jerusalem hillside, the garden serves as the backdrop for the Israel Museum’s display of the evolution of the modern western sculptural tradition. On view are works by modern masters including Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and David Smith, together with more recent site-specific commissions by such artists as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Mark Dion, James Turrell, and Micha Ullman

Youth Wing

The Israel Museum receives only 10% to 12% of its operating budget from State and Municipal sources. The Israeli government provides varying amounts of funds each year. The institution must raise 88% of its yearly operating budget, all of its $150 million endowment and $100 million for its recent capital project, while paying 17.5% VAT as well as real-estate taxes on the campus property. The most active of the international support groups of the museum, the American Friends of the Israel Museum raised $270 million in cash, of which $47 million is in endowment funds, and donated $210 million in art from 1972 to 2008. In 2009, the Israel Museum received $12m from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, towards the renovation, reinstallation and endowment of its fine arts wing, which will be renamed after Edmond and Lily Safra.

Photo Gallery

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