The Israel Museum in Jerusalem recently re-opened after an extensive, three-year redesign of its collections and its 20-acre campus.
By Harvey Stein (Israel MFA)
Since its start in 1965, the Israel Museum has strived to point up the strong connections between its three main wings: Archeology, fine art and Jewish art and life.
Museum director James S. Snyder says that "over the last three years... we have accomplished here a transformative change to the museum, which we hope has actually brought out the potential of its original vision."
Asked what makes the Israel Museum unique, Snyder responds that "there's something special about coming here, to see not just the culture of the region, from the beginning of time until today, but the rest of world culture, all synthesized together within a place which is really meant to be about intercultural connections."
The renovation has doubled the museum's gallery space, which now exhibits about 8,000 objects out of its collection of half a million. The new design of the galleries takes the visitor on a journey through time, starting with archeology and pre-history, a billion and a half years ago, and moving all the way to contemporary art. The works of masters of modern art are cheek by jowl with works of Israeli artists, whom Snyder says have now managed to disconnect themselves from the immediacy of their history and "become quite active on the international landscape."
Snyder says that it is most important to him that, both inside and outside the museum, his visitors experience "the power of beauty."
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