The Israel Museum was first conceived of by Teddy Kollek, chief aide to Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion. Kollek later on became Jerusalem’s mayor and master builder. The original idea was to focus on Judaica and archaeology, but Mr. Kollek worried that it would be too narrow in focus and he pushed to open the museum up to general art. The museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. Among the unique objects on display is the Venus of Berekhat Ram: a carved female figurine considered the oldest artwork in the world. The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts.
Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE, and provides historical context to the Shrine’s presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Museum runs many exhibitions and family activities throughout the year. There are some particularly exciting exhibitions to open in 2016 which embrace topics spanning continents, genres, and time periods.The number of annual visitors to the Museum has risen from 350,000 a decade ago to over 760,000 in 2014.
📅 Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday – 10am-5pm
Tuesday – 4pm- 9pm
Friday and Holiday Eve- 10am-2pm
Sat and Holidays – 10am-5pm