Israel Museum’s Renewed Campus Opens Today

Last night, at a ceremony attended by local and foreign dignitaries, donors and various cultural figures, the renewed campus of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem was dedicated.

Reopening to the public this morning, the $100 million project features new galleries, orientation facilities and public spaces. The three-year expansion and renewal project was designed to enhance visitor experience of the Museum’s art, architecture, and surrounding landscape, in complement to the original architecture and design of the campus. Also included in the renewal was the renovation and reconfiguration of the Museum’s three collection wings – archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life – and the reinstallation of its encyclopedic collections.

The Museum’s opening schedule will include a series of exhibitions highlighting new acquisitions and long-held masterpieces across its various collections. In addition, to celebrate the project’s completion, artists Zvi Goldstein, Susan Hiller, and Yinka Shonibare have curated Artists’ Choices, a special three-part exhibition that juxtaposes works from all three of the Museum’s collection wings. The renewed campus will also feature two new monumental commissions – Olafur Eliasson’s Whenever the Rainbow Appears and Anish Kapoor’s Turning The World Upside Down, Jerusalem – which respond directly to the Museum’s site and setting.

Completing the inauguration of the renewed campus, a special week-long series of public programs and events is planned, including concerts by prominent Israeli musicians, activities in the galleries for all audiences, and on Thursday, a late-night art and music festival, engaging artists, writers, and performers with the renewed Museum and its landscape.

“Forty-five years after the Israel Museum first opened its magnificent campus, we have completed a renewal project that allows us to serve our public as never before,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “The most ambitious undertaking in our history, this project has yielded a truly transformational change across our site.”

The project is supported by a $100-million capital campaign, which was completed in December 2009 and represents the largest collective philanthropic initiative ever undertaken for a single cultural institution in the State of Israel. The Museum is also in the midst of an endowment campaign and has raised nearly $60 million toward its $75-million goal, which will double its institutional endowment to $150 million, comprising the largest endowment for any cultural institution in the country.

image: Indian artist Anish Kapoor’s Turning The World Upside Down, Jerusalem – a site specific project.
photo by Tim Hursley, courtesy of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Also, James Snyder speaks on the Museum’s new vision.