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Palestinian Museum opens its doors without any exhibits

The Palestinian Museum, designed by Heneghan Peng, has opened its doors today (18 May) without any exhibits.

The US$60m, (€55m, £40m) project, located in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, has the intention of creating an iconic building to act as a beacon of hope for the Palestinian people. It was first mooted in 1999, but has been stalled multiple times due to political tensions in the region.

The building itself – which sits on a series of terraces designed to echo the agricultural terraces of the region – is “symbolically critical”, according to Omar al-Qattan, the museum’s chair.

The museum’s inaugural exhibition Never Part, which will highlight artefacts of Palestinian refugees, was suspended after a disagreement between former director Jack Persekian and the museum’s board, which led to Persekian's departure and his replacement last week with Dr Mahmoud Hawari.

al-Qattan said that Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that opening a museum completely void of an exhibits would still be worth the effort.

Despite its lack of exhibits, the building is hosting its opening ceremony a few days after the 68th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as Nakba – the 1948 Palestinian exodus and the conflict that followed.

The museum will be free-to-visit for the public starting 1 June, though what will be available to see is still in question.

In an interview in the latest issue of CLADmag, Conor Sreenan, project architect at Heneghan Peng, said: “Our intention wasn’t to create a building as an ‘object’ dropped onto the landscape. It was to create something which is derived directly from it: emerging from its surroundings to create a strong profile for the hilltop, integrated into the landscape, but also creating an assertive form with a distinctive identity.”

The building comprises a 3,500sq m (37,673sq ft) climate controlled gallery space, amphitheatre, cafeteria with outdoor seating, classrooms, storage, a gift shop and office space. A second phase of construction, to be completed within a 10 year timeframe, will grow the museum to 10,000sq m (107,639sq ft) and will include more gallery space.

Palestine  Palestinian Museum  Omar al-Qattan  Never Part  Mahmoud Hawari  Heneghan Peng  Nakba  Museum 
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11 May 2016

Heneghan Peng's Palestinian Museum opens 18 May

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Ambitious plans outlined for a Palestinian cultural museum in Gaza

The Palestinian Museum, designed by Heneghan Peng, has opened its doors today (18 May) without any exhibits. The US$60m, (€55m, £40m) project, located in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, has the intention of creating an iconic building to act as a beacon of hope for the Palestinian people. It was first mooted in 1999, but has been stalled multiple times due to political tensions in the region. The building
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Museum chair Omar al-Qattan said that Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that opening a museum completely void of an exhibits would still be worth the effort
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