The Best Museums in Tel Aviv
Israel is among the top countries in terms of museums per capita.
The Eretz Israel Museum – 2 Haim Levanon – Phone: 03-6415244
The Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv is a multidisciplinary museum that exhibits Israeli culture, past and present. The new character of the temporary exhibitions seeks to create contemporary and bold connections between the diverse cultural aspects which the museum deals with, among them archeology, ethnography, applied art, art, photography and documentation in Israeli society, and expand them.
The museum, which is one of the third largest in Israel, is spread over an area of some 20 acres, and comprises about 15 buildings and various installations. Hundreds of thousands of items are housed in the diverse museum collections, among them numerous and rare treasures.
In the center of the museum, adjacent to the buildings and exhibit spaces, stands Tell Qasile – an ancient archeological mound dating from the 12th century BCE. Additional ancient relics, such as mosaics, oil presses, an ancient wine press, flour mills, etc. can be found in the gardens surrounding the site.
In addition to the ten permanent exhibitions and ancient sites, the museum displays about 20 temporary exhibits every year, and also conducts symposiums, lectures and meetings with curators and scholars in various fields. The museum site also houses an innovative planetarium, halls of various sizes, lecture rooms and workshops, a cafeteria, and a gift shop.
Museum of the Jewish People at Beit HaTfutsot – Tel Aviv University – Phone: 073-7824030
The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot is more than a Museum. This unique global institution tells the ongoing and extraordinary story of the Jewish people.
The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot connects Jewish people to their roots and strengthens their personal and collective Jewish identity. The Museum of the Jewish People conveys to the world the fascinating narrative of the Jewish people and the essence of the Jewish culture, faith, purpose and deed while presenting the contribution of world Jewry to humanity.
The Museum opened in 1978 thanks to the vision of Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress 1954-1977. In 2005, the Israeli Knesset passed the Beit Hatfutsot Law that defines Beit Hatfutsot as “the National Center for Jewish communities in Israel and around the world”.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art – Shaul HaMelech 24 – 03-6077027
Tel Aviv Museum of Art – Israel’s first art museum, founded in 1932 – is a leading and influential institution dedicated to the preservation and display of modern and contemporary art from Israel and abroad. The museum is a critical agent for the arts and culture in Israel, offering its visitors a multicultural experience. An active part of the vibrant metropolis, it is a must-visit for international and local crowds.
Museum Beit Ha’ir – Bialik 26 – 03-7240311
Recently renovated by the Municipality of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, Beit Ha’ir sits in the historical Town Hall of Tel-Aviv and forms part of the Bialik Complex – a center of Hebrew and Israeli culture that comprises a pivotal chapter in the history and cultural life of the city. The Bialik Square and its surrounding buildings, including Beit Ha’ir, have been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO and are included in the area of Tel-Aviv designated a “White City” for its unique variant of modern international architecture. The building was restored and preserved by the Tel-Aviv Development Fund under the planning of architect Meira Kowalsky.
Beit Ha’ir (Hebrew for Town Hall) is designed to be an open house for those residents, artists, writers, scholars, tourists, and other guests who want to become better acquainted with Tel Aviv and to partake in its story and spirit; a lively hub of exhibitions and information about the city in all its historical periods, as well as an active civic arena — a place to conduct current public debates and to advance urban processes.
Gutman Museum – Rokach 21 – 03-5161970
The Nahum Gutman Museum of Art was opened on May 3rd 1988 by the Nahum Gutman Society and the Tel Aviv Foundation, in the presence of Israeli President Ezer Weizman. The entire museum collection was donated by the artist’s family who wished to emphasise Nahum Gutman’s multi-dimensional character and portray him as painter, illustrator, sculptor and children’s author, thus allowing the public to become acquainted with his oeuvre.
The museum’s first director and founder was the late writer and curator Yoav Dagon. The museum was established in a historical house, built by the Schulman family in 1887, one of the first 48 houses forming the nucleus of Neve-Zedek. Information about the Schulman House and its many residents can be found in the book: “Tel Aviv, Exposed”, by Goldberg, Widrich and Amit-Cohen, pp.43-46.
Between the years 1907-1914 the building which now houses the Gutman Museum was used as the offices of the periodical “Hapoel Hazair” (“The Young Worker”) and as a residence for its editor Joseph Aharonovitch and the writers Joseph Chaim Brenner and Dvora Baron. In 1912, Dvora Baron, the periodical’s literary editor, married Joseph Aharonovitch. The house became the literary center and meeting place for the group of Hebrew writers who marked the beginning of the new Hebrew culture, and became known as “The Writers House”.
Through the years the house was badly damaged and in the 60’s it was finally abandoned and condemned by the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Municipality. After a long public debate involving members of the Knesset (The Israeli Parliament) and the Israeli Preservationist Society, the house was declared a landmark and subsequently purchased by the Jewish National Fund. Reconstruction began in 1992, with the initiative of the Doron Foundation, the Tel Aviv Foundation and with a special contribution from Irene and Murray Pergament (U.S.A.) in memory of their daughter, Sherri P. Koeppel.
The northern wing was historically reconstructed, while the southern wing was modernly renovated by the architect Ronny Zeibert.
On the initiative of the Gutman Family and the Gutman Society, the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Municipality decided to devote “The Writers’ House” to Gutman’s work. On the 9th of September 2009, the museum’s new, adjacent wing was officially opened, just where the “Nukta”, the Turkish Guard had once stood, during the founding of Neve-Zedek.
The museum exhibitions create a meeting space between Gutman and young Israeli contemporary artists, creating a cultural dialogue between old and new works of art. A visit to the museum exposes the visitor to a wide range of Israeli artistic endeavor, including an inner cultural dialogue between the different eras and perspectives. The fact that Gutman drew both Tel Aviv and Jaffa, portraying Jews and Arabs with the same amount of love and interest, provides us with a wonderful tool for the teaching of tolerance as well as a cross-cultural meeting place.
The Nahum Gutman Museum of Art is funded by the Tel Aviv/Jaffa Municipality, the Ministry of Education’s Cultural Affairs Bureau and private donors.
Rubin Museum – Bialik 14 – 03-5255961
The Rubin Museum is an artist-house-museum in the historical heart of Tel Aviv. Formerly the home of the painter Reuven Rubin, he lived here with his family and worked in his third-floor studio from 1946 until his death in 1974. Constructed in 1930, the house on 14 Bialik St. opened to the public in 1983. A choice selection from the Museum’s permanent collection of Reuven Rubin’s paintings is regularly on display, replaced periodically by guest exhibitions focusing on Israeli art. There are 4 floors in the building: The street level floor houses the main gallery, as well as the entry hall with the museum’s shop. An additional gallery is located on the second floor, where the visitor will also find the library and reading room. The children’s workshop is located in the basement, opening to the backyard. Rubin’s studio, preserved as it was in his lifetime, is located on the third floor which also houses a biographical photographic display unfolding Rubin’s life-story and reflecting the local artistic and cultural scene.
The Yitzhak Rabin Center Museum – Haim Levanon 8 – 03-74553313
The Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center is the first and only museum in Israel to explore the development of the State of Israel as a young democracy.
Built in a downward spiral, the Museum presents two parallel stories: the history of the State and Israeli society, and the biography of Yitzhak Rabin. The Museum exhibits focus on historical turning points in the country’s development, presenting the conflicts, social challenges and dilemmas the country faced at that time. Along the inner corridor and interwoven with the exhibits’ narratives is the story of the life of Yitzhak Rabin, the connecting thread in the country’s history.
The Museum’s content was determined by an academic team headed by Israeli historian, Professor Anita Shapira. The Museum was designed by Uri Abrahamson and Mabatim Ltd. and included experts who facilitated the design of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Human Rights Museum in Birmingham, Alabama and the David Tower Museum in Jerusalem.
The Museum is incredibly rich with over 180 documentary films, 1,500 still photographs and hundreds of memorabilia. We recommend allocating an hour-and-a half to two hours for a visit.
The Museum experience utilizes audio devices which allow visitors to tour the Museum at their own pace. They are available in Hebrew, English and Arabic.
Guided tours are offered for groups in Hebrew and in English and are strongly recommended for students, soldiers and families and groups visiting from abroad.
Ben-Gurion House – Ben Gurion 17 – 03-5221010
The Ben-Gurion House was built in 1930-1931, when the first workers’ neighborhood was established on Keren Kayemet Le’Israel (The Jewish National Fund) land.
Like all other houses built in that neighborhood, it was a one-family house, planned by the late engineer David Tuvia. The price of the house, 350 Palestinian pounds, was paid in installments, by Paula and David Ben-Gurion. The building was enlarged in 1946 and again renovated in 1960.
It was Paula and David Ben-Gurion’s permanent residence until they settled in Sde-Boker.
Later on, they lived alternately here and in their ‘tsriff’ or cabin in Sde-Boker, until Ben-Gurion’s death in 1973.
“I BEQUEATH TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL MY HOME IN TEL-AVIV…”In his will, David Ben-Gurion bequeathed his house in Tel-Aviv to the state of Israel.
Ben-Gurion requested the house to become a public institution for reading, study and research. After his death, the ‘Knesset’ (Israeli Parliament) unanimously voted for, following the decision of the Government of Israel, the “David Ben-Gurion Law – 1976” – which declared the house as a national site.
It was opened to the public on Nov.29, 1974.
All the items belonging to Paula and David Ben-Gurion are in the house, in the same condition and in the same place they used to be when the house was lived in. Souvenirs and exhibits were added when the house was opened to the public.