Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, served as the country’s cultural and economic center for centuries. The city has numerous art, archeological and historical museums and the streets and parks of Jerusalem are full of art and sculpture. Scroll down for a list of Jerusalem’s leading museums of Jerusalem. To know more: Jerusalem Municipality website.
The Israel Museum
The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in Israel and is ranked among the world's leading art and archaeology museums. It 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 holding of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world.
In the summer of 2010 the Museum completed a comprehensive upgrade of its 20-acre campus featuring new galleries, entrance facilities and public spaces. Among the highlights of the Museum's original campus is the Shrine of the Book, which houses the legendary Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world. Adjacent is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which provides historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Scrolls.
The Museum’s celebrated Billy Rose Art Garden is counted among the finest outdoor sculpture settings of the 20th century with works by modern masters including Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, and Pablo Picasso. The Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education presents a wide range of programming and exhibition galleries.
The Museum is too large for most visitors to cover in a single visit. We suggest visitors check on what exhibits are in progress and plan a route in the Museum to cover areas of greatest interest.
Audio guides in selected languages are available free of charge in the Entrance Pavilion. The Museum also offers scheduled daily guided tours free of charge in Hebrew and English, once a week in French, and once a week in Spanish. To know more: museum website.
The Bible Lands Museum
The Bible Lands Museum is located near the Israel Museum. Its exhibits include a large collection of archeological artifacts that open a doorway to ancient Mid-Eastern cultures. Using maps, sketches, Biblical quotations and priceless exhibits, the museum illustrates the ties between the various peoples of the region, visitors are led along a time line beginning in Biblical times and ending in our modern era. The museum also has a spacious garden with trees and plants that are mentioned in the Bible. To know more: museum website.
The Tower of David Museum
At the Tower of David Museum, not only do the captivating exhibits deepen your understanding of Jerusalem, its very stones are part of this city’s living history. Each ancient room has been revamped to showcase a different period, allowing the tempestuous events of 4,000 years to fall perfectly into place in your mind. With each doorway you exit, you look down into the citadel’s central courtyard, where archaeologists have unearthed remains dating from the Maccabees to the Middle Ages. The museum also utilizes its unique space for multi-sensory exhibits by leading designers and artists from Israel and abroad, and for memorable private functions.
To know more: www.towerofdavid.org.il
A small museum located in the center of the city, Ticho House
is a separate branch of the Israel Museum. The house was built in
1868 and purchased in the 1920’s by a Vienna-born ophthalmologist named Avraham Albert Ticho and his wife, Anna. The first floor served as a clinic and the couple resided upstairs. Anna Ticho studied art in Vienna and her work captured the faces, moods and vistas of early 20th-century Jerusalem. In 1980, she was awarded the Israel Prize for her art work. After her death, the house was converted to a museum with a permanent exhibition of her paintings, Hanukkah menorahs from Dr. Ticho's collection, an extensive library, gift shop, and coffeehouse. The house and garden are also used for concerts and receptions.
The Jerusalem Artists' House
This museum, located in a 19th-century stone building, was the original site of the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts. It hosts temporary exhibits of Israeli artists.
Islamic Arts Museum
The Islamic Arts Museum is located near the Jerusalem Theater, and is considered one of the world’s finest museums of Islamic art. The museum displays Islamic art from the 7th century to modern times, with artifacts from Israel, Egypt , Syria , Iraq , Turkey , India , Afghanistan, Spain and Iran . The permanent and temporary exhibits include rich collections of pottery, glass, and metal work, ritual artifacts, jewelry, paintings, and tapestries. The museum also holds creativity workshops, plays and performances for children during school vacations. Guided tours are available in Hebrew, English and Arabic. To know more: museum website.
Museum on the Seam
The Museum on the Seam sits atop the barbed-wire frontier that divided Israeli from Jordanian Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967. Formerly known as the Tourgeman House, its bullet holes are witness to former conflict. It became a municipal museum in 2000. The museum presents the events of the past through multimedia, photography, art exhibits and video, placing emphasis on co-existence and tolerance.
The Rockefeller Museum
The Rockefeller Museum, one of the first buildings built outside
the walls of the Old City, is a branch of the Israel Museum. Its exhibits are mostly archeology, but visitors also come to admire the beautiful building itself. Originally built in the 17th century as a private home, it was in 1906 that the Jewish National Fund sought to purchase the compound for Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts. In 1919 the administration of the new British Mandate designated the site as an archeological museum. To know more: museum website.
TEL AVIV MUSEUMS
If Jerusalem is Israel’s Washington DC, Tel Aviv is Israel’s New York City. Created as an outgrowth of the ancient port of Jaffa (Yafo), Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and a dynamic modern city on the Mediterranean shore that is the heart of a metropolitan area of some 3.5 million people.
Tel Aviv as a city is art. As a result of immigration to Israel by German Jews in the 1930’s, Germany’s Bauhaus architecture movement found a new identity in Tel Aviv and the city is home to more Bauhaus buildings than any city on earth. So much so that Tel Aviv’s “White City” – as the Bauhaus neighborhoods are known – has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Israel’s capital of business, entertainment and the arts, Tel Aviv has lately developed the persona as a member of the grouping of
“cool” cities that includes Barcelona, Istanbul, Melbourne, Miami
Beach and Rio de Janeiro. Israel 's leading theater companies, Habimah, Kameri and Gesher, are located in Tel Aviv, as are the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, the New Israeli Opera, the Conservatory, the Frederic Mann Auditorium (home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) and the Cinemathèque. The city is full of outdoor sculpture and numerous art galleries exhibit works by Israeli artists. Parks and public centers host street shows, and the city has a wide variety of clubs with music for every taste.
However short a Tel Aviv stay, no visitor with an artistic bent should miss the Old City of Jaffa (Yafo) with its picturesque port and artists' colony, Neve Tzedek, the oldest and most colorful neighborhood in Tel Aviv and home of numerous artists, and Gordon Street with its many art galleries. To know more: municipality website.
The Tel Aviv Art Museum
The permanent collection of The Tel Aviv Art Museum - the city’s
largest - includes over 20,000 prints and drawings, as well as paintings and sculpture by recent Israel artists, Renaissance European art and works from the Renaissance, impressionist and modern eras. The Helena Rubenstein Pavilion, with its permanent and temporary exhibits, is a remote branch of the museum located in the city center next to the Frederic Mann Auditorium and Habimah theatre. To know more: museum website .
The Land of Israel (Eretz Israel) Museum
The Land of Israel Museum contains an entire world of visual, cultural, and historical treasures. The museum collections are displayed in different pavilions devoted to glass, ceramics, coins, philately, Judaica, ethnography and folklore. The museum grounds encompass the archeological site of Tel Kasila - a Philistine port city dating back more than 3,000 years, a planetarium simulating space flight, the fire engine donated in 1948 by the City of New York to Israel’s first fire brigade and a plaza with ancient mosaics and an olive press. To know more: museum website.
Also known as the Museum of the Jewish People, The Diaspora Museum is dedicated to the history of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. Located on the campus of Tel Aviv University, the permanent exhibition includes ethnic artifacts from Jewish communities throughout the world. Jewish life in diverse geographic regions is illustrated by means of drawings, models, video, music, photography, sound and light. A computer center enables visitors to search family roots. To know more: museum website.