Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Jubilee of the Israel Museum, 1965-2015

This week, the Israel State Archives and the Israel Museum released a joint publication (in Hebrew) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the museum, which was opened on May 11, 1965. The museum is Israel's national museum and holds one of the largest collections of art and archaeology in the world.

The publication includes 39 documents (three in English--4, 18, 26; one in French--18; the rest in Hebrew), and tells the story of the building of the museum with assistance from the U.S. government. (This was why it was called "the Israel Museum" rather than "the Jerusalem museum"; the U.S. opposed Israel's extension of its rule to Jerusalem.) The publication also describes the decision to build in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood in Jerusalem, the process of building, and the inauguration of the museum.

In the first year after opening, the museum saw more than 570,000 visitors, out of a population of 2.5 million, in 1965.

The publication includes photographs, architectural plans, a model of the building built by architects Alfred Mansfeld and Dora Gad, and movie clips.

Here are some photographs from the opening of the museum, courtesy of the government press office's national photo collection:
P.M. Levy Eshkol speaking at the opening ceremony of the Israel National Museum in Jerusalem (David Ben Gurion can be seen seated in the center, on the right side of Eshkol) / Moshe Pridan 

Chairman of the acting board of governors of the Israel Museum Mr. Teddy Kollek speaking at the opening ceremony of the museum in Jerusalem / Moshe Pridan 
Mrs. Rachel Shazar, President Shazar's wife, cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the Israel National Museum in Jerusalem. To her right, Mr. Teddy Kollek and Mr. Propes. / Moshe Pridan
Baron and Baroness (R) Edmond de Rothschild looking at a 5,000-year-old ornamental copper object from the Chaleolitic period found during the excavations of the Bar Kochba caves in the Judean desert / Moshe Pridan
Deputy Defense Minister Peres and his wife visiting the Israel National Museum after the opening ceremony / Moshe Pridan 

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