Israel's museums are relatively new, innovative, and interactive. They display the discoveries of the past, of the self, and of nationhood that are happening so intensively every day in Israeli society. The most interesting museums are those that could only be found in Israel.
- Israel Museum (Jerusalem): Although it only opened in 1965, in 5 decades, the Israel Museum has made its place on the world museum map. Its greatest treasures are beautifully exhibited and include a number of the Dead Sea Scrolls; a dazzling, all-encompassing collection of archaeological finds from Israel; a vast treasury of world Judaica and costumes; and excellent collections of primitive, pre-Columbian, European, and modern art. There's also an enticing Children's Wing.
- L. A. Mayer Memorial Museum of Islamic Art (Jerusalem): An undervisited treasure with an excellent collection of Islamic and Middle Eastern art, clocks, and well-chosen special and visiting exhibitions.
- Sir Isaac and Lady Edith Wolfson Museum (Jerusalem): Right in the heart of Jerusalem, this little-known gem consists of a large but intimate private collection of Judaica from all over the world. It is exhibited on the fourth floor of Heichal Shlomo, the Great Synagogue complex on King George Street.
- Yad VaShem Memorial and Holocaust Museum (Jerusalem): This large complex is a memorial to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. A major focus of the complex is the newer section of the museum, built in 2005. Here, in ways that put a human face on the staggering numbers of victims, the history of the Holocaust is traced using actual film footage, videos of personal interviews with survivors, historical documents, artifacts, and personal items -- some donated by survivors and accompanied by stories of unimaginable heartbreak. Other parts of the complex include an archive that gathers and stores information about individual victims, memorial structures, gardens, and commemorative installations. No visitor can leave here unaffected.
- Bet Hatfutzot/Diaspora Museum (Tel Aviv): Not a museum in terms of displaying actual genuine artifacts, Bet Hatfutzot is rather a vast ensemble of multimedia exhibits that illustrate the histories of Jewish communities throughout the world. It's fascinating and fun, and the special visiting exhibitions are always worthwhile.
- Eretz Israel Museum (Tel Aviv): This museum covers many aspects of the land of Israel, including its natural history, flora and fauna, archaeology, folklore, and traditional crafts. Highlights include a bazaar filled with craftspeople demonstrating skills from antiquity such as glass blowing, olive pressing, weaving, and pottery making; an extraordinary collection of ancient glass; and excavations of a tel (ancient mound) located right on the grounds of the museum.
- Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv): Notable for strong collections of Israeli and contemporary European (including Russian) art, as well as its Jaglom Collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. There is a lively program of public events, performances, and special exhibitions.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.