At the heart of the fascinating museum is an actual archeological site. Called Tel Qasile, it contains 12 layers of settlement, meaning visitors can view an excavated Canaanite temple and enter a reconstructed house from the pre-Israelite era—approximately b.c. 1100!
But this dig is just the beginning of the wonders of this university-like campus, which has eight other pavilions dedicated to other intriguing subjects. The Glass Pavilion houses a rare collection of vessels, some dating back to 1500 B.C; it’s one of the largest collections of ancient glass in the world. The Ethnography pavilion displays judaica, folk-crafts, costumes, and an exquisite collection of antique Chanukah menorahs from across the world. The Nechustan Pavilion explores the topics of mining and metallurgy during the biblical era. “The Man and His Work Center” is set up like a bazaar in which you can watch men and women engaged in ancient industries such as weaving, olive-pressing, glass-blowing, pottery-making, basketry, clothing, and tool design. There’s also a garden of ancient mosaic floors from all over Israel.
Covering the contemporary world are the Lasky Planetarium offering Hebrew-language shows of astronomy, and visiting exhibits of works by contemporary artisans.
The Museum Gift shop is topnotch, featuring inventive gifts special to the Holy Land, as well as beautiful items of contemporary design. There’s a good cafe on the premises.
- Frommer's Staff