Jerusalem museum reopens

by Martin Nash | 27 Jul 2010

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has reopened following a 3-year, US$100m (£64.5m, €77m) redevelopment programme involving new galleries, orientation facilities and public spaces.

Led by James Carpenter Design Associates of New York and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects of Tel Aviv, the project also included the renovation and reconfiguration of the museum's three collection wings and the reinstallation of its encyclopedic collections. The museum's architectural footprint has increased considerably since its opening in 1965, with its collections having grown significantly throughout this time and particularly in the past ten years. The redevelopment work, which commenced in June 2007, has doubled the museum's gallery space and increased its architectural footprint by around 15 percent, all within the existing 20-acre campus.

In total, it encompasses 7,800sq m (84,000sq ft) of new construction and 19,000sq m (204,500sq ft) of renovated and expanded gallery space. Isaac Molho, chair of the museum's board of directors said: "The project strengthens the museum's position as one of the most important social and cultural centres in the country and also as one of the most outstanding museums in the world.

"The renewed museum will provide generations of visitors, both from Israel and from abroad, with unique experiences of the art, culture, and history of communities throughout time and around the globe." Visitors now enter through three newly constructed glass entry pavilions, housing ticketing and information, retail, and restaurant facilities. Beyond this point, they can now either ascend the museum's refurbished Carter Promenade or follow a newly created route to the heart of the museum. The latter, in a move aimed at improving the visitor experience, is flanked on one side by a translucent glass wall with a water feature running along its top edge and brings visitors into the lowest level of a new three-story gallery entrance pavilion.

This offers access to the museum's three collection wings and temporary exhibition galleries on its main floor, while also allowing visitors to reach the museum's uppermost Crown Plaza via its top floor. The redevelopment has also seen the reconstruction of all three of the museum's collection wings - the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing; the Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing; and the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life.

Highlights include a chronological presentation of the museum's archaeological holdings from the ancient land of Israel; the first permanent galleries for Israeli Art and more than double the gallery space for the extensive modern art holdings in the Fine Arts Wing; and a newly configured Synagogue Route at the heart of the Jewish Art and Life Wing.

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has reopened following a 3-year, US$100m (£64.5m, €77m) redevelopment programme involving new galleries, orientation facilities and public spaces. Led by James Carpenter Design Associates of New York and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects of Tel Aviv, the project also included the renovation and reconfiguration of the museum's three collection wings and the reinstallation of its encyclopedic collections. The museum's architectural footprint has increased considerably since its opening in
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