The museums of Israel-hidden treasures

BY Lee Saunders   DATE 31/08/2017

Celebrating the past, cherishing the future – the museums of Israel

Museums of yesterday can sometimes conjure up images of long, tedious day trips from school, being marched around to look at dusty objects you could not relate to. Today, in the digital age, time has moved on significantly, and a large number of museums here have embraced Israel’s technological prowess to enrich the experience for a whole new generation.

With the highest number of museums per capita in the world, we choose just a handful of the many, many to choose from – to visit in Israel, to relax, learn and be inspired.

Music – the power to unite

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Few things bring people together more than music, and the fascinating Hebrew Music Museum, a short walk from the King David Hotel in the heart of Jerusalem, is as interesting as it is interactive.

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Given an iPad on arrival, visitors explore three floors charting the origins and evolution of musical instruments from around the world. Divided into Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Balkans and Central Asia, there are stunning and odd-looking instruments that not only stood the test of time but evolved into the instruments we know and love today.

Did you know Scottish bagpipes originally came from Persia?
From the earliest recorded times, music has played an integral part in bringing people, families and communities together – the power to unite – and the Hebrew Music Museum explores the roots of strings, percussion, woodwind and brass instruments. Be sure to enjoy the interactive, 3D experience on the top floor – imagining what life was like thousands of years ago.

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History as it unfolds, the present as it is

The Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem provides another phenomenal interactive journey, which uses ground-breaking technology to tell the unfolding story of love and heroism, of bonds and unity, between the Jewish and Christian communities.

Visitors learn more about the biblical figures, businessmen, academics and military figures who played a major part in this vital relationship and the realization of the Jewish dream to return home. With guided tours in 16 languages, the museum takes you on an historic journey from the opening “Land of Promise” room, which uses breathtaking video, creative mapping technology and surround sound to escort you through the 3,000-year-old saga to the colorful present day.

From “The Founders” to the “Hall of Dreamers,” “Hall of Visionaries” and “Hall of the Brave,” you will leave having been enriched by the whole experience.

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Art enables us to find and lose ourselves

Founded in 1932, one of the oldest museums in Israel, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (“TAMA”) is also one of the country’s most diverse, and a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Located a short ride away from the Dan Tel Aviv and the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv, TAMA houses a vast permanent collection of classic and contemporary art, covering many of the major movements of the first half of the 20th century.

It also features diverse temporary exhibitions featuring the collections of individual artists, such as the mesmerizing pop art of Andy Warhol, the inspired oil paintings of Druze artist Fatma Shanan, while the “Constructive Responses to Natural Disasters Exhibition and Research Project” is an awe-inspiring look at how the use of social media, technology and Israeli-created apps are helping before, during and after natural disasters.

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The diversity on offer should keep any visitor intrigued and entertained, with TAMA soon to be showcasing more exhibitions, including the work of the talented French-American artist Louise
Bourgeois, known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, and the Total Red: Photography exhibition, showing the development of Soviet photography against the backdrop of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Scientific and technology secrets unveiled in Haifa

Creativity and innovation have brought Haifa’s Madatech- Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space to life, inspiring visitors with a raft of scientific and technological secrets and discoveries. As the nearby Dan Carmel Haifa sets a high standard for elegance and luxury, Madatech has set a high bar among science museums worldwide.

Recognized 30 years ago by the Government as Israel’s national museums for science, design and technology, Madatech sits on the original home of the iconic Technion University and hosts more than 20 interactive science and technology exhibitions for all the family.

From Green Energy and Magical Science to A Matter of Chemistry and Visual Deceptions, these excellent and interactive displays will challenge your curiosity, test your knowledge, and surpass your expectations.

No “museum” can be more humbling than the hidden treasure that is the What’s Up Observatory, near the southern city of Eilat. Visitors can take in the superb Stargazing program, run by Ethan Schwartz, who shares his passion for astronomy in a simple and professional way to introduce you to the wonders of the sky and its many constellations.

Using a computerized telescope, together with binoculars, you will have the opportunity to look at our solar system, the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter and maybe even Mars and Venus and Uranus, depending on the time and season. Enjoy this breathtaking experience, just a straight drive down Route 90 from the equally out-of-this-world Dan Eilat and Dan Panorama Eilat.

From music to history, art to science, museums’ interpretations give us new understandings, fresh insights and impressions on how to view the world. And, what’s more, they help us to locate ourselves in it. In Israel, you will certainly find plenty of ways to find yourself.

Written by  Lee Saunders