Art museums in Israel

Like most countries, Israel has its own unique culture and art that come from the country’s history and its inhabitants. More than 40 museums in Israel support and display the many different art varieties that can be found in many of the famous museums of the world. The leading museums in Israel are found across the country, and offer visitors a wide range artistic tapestries from traditional art such as The Israel Museum, to the Kibbutz model such as can be found at the museum of art in Ein Harod. The leading museums in Israel are the Israel museum in Jerusalem, the Tel-Aviv museum in Tel-Aviv, the Petach Tikva museum of art in Petach Tikva, and The museum of art in the pastoral kibbutz of Ein Harod. Alongside the official museums there also private museums, some owned by Kibbutzim and some privately owned such as the Lohamei HaGeta’ot Museum (The Ghetto Fighters House) in Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot, and The Tefen Open Museums which are located inside the industrial parks in northern and southern Israel. These museums are owned by the Wertheimer family, one of the most respected business families in Israel.

The Israel Museum being the largest and most prestigious of all museums in Israel, first opened its doors in 1965 in Jerusalem. The museum displays contemporary art, archeological artifacts and artistic clothing dating back thousands of years. In recent years the museum was renovated and included the expansion of a few museum sections, and the rework of the original building which was designed by one of Israeli’s greatest architects Alfred Mansfeld. Since its opening, the Museum displayed exhibits from William Kentridge, and a permanent exhibit named “The Clock” by Christian Marclay which was purchased together with Tate in London and The Centre Pompidou in Paris. The ‘Book Hall’ is one of the more important sections of the museum, and contains the scroll of Yehuda and other ancient manuscripts over 2,000 year old and are some of the great archeological discoveries of the twentieth century. Most of these scrolls were written in Hebrew, though only small parts of them were fully preserved. The quality and essence of these scrolls is in itself a unique literary treasure that allows a glimpse to the lives of the Jewish people in ancient times.


The Tel-Aviv museum is more contemporary. This museum opened in 1959 and mainly displays modern art. However, the museum still includes works of art by some of the old masters, such as Picasso, Jackson, Pollock and Gustav Klimt. In 2011 the western section of the museum was opened, which includes an entire photography section. For the first time, a permanent exhibit was established to display key Israeli art. This section of the museum should not be skipped, if wants to learn more about the perceptions of Israeli artists throughout the years.


Another museum in Israel that now receives international acclaim for its active art, is the Petach Tikva museum of art. The museum won first place in the 2010 ‘Perfect Museum’ of the Monocle British magazine. Despite its small size, the museum – led by Dorit GurArie – is very committed to active art projects, and displayed some breakthrough exhibitions throughout the years that challenged the Israeli art scene. The museum launched a unique project for young artists that display works based on the museum’s collection that contains over 4,000 pieces. This project brings new interpretations to art that came from older periods of the country.