Photo: The work is under the direction of the Clore Israel Foundation, with support from the City of Jerusalem, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Cultural Heritage and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
Israel is taking the opportunity with no tourists in town to do restoration work on a number of tourist hotspots.
One of the largest projects is the restoration of Jerusalem’s Tower of David. A whopping $40 million has been budgeted for the renovation and expansion of the museum housed in the historical structure, and the Israel Antiquities Authority is overseeing excavations being carried out as part of the process.
The renovation and conservation project aims to preserve and beautify the citadel and the archaeological park. At the same time, the exhibition area will be doubled to 20,000 square meters, with a new visitor center featuring barrier-free access, a café and an additional toilet facility. There will be seven new galleries. The additional exhibition rooms are accessed by two elevators. The old citadel will then be accessible to everyone.
The history of Jerusalem is brought to life in a multi-sensory manner through many new finds. Significant Roman-Byzantine buildings have already been discovered below the Jaffa Gate square, the primary entrance to the Old City. A promenade lined with archaeological finds will guide visitors from the new museum entrance to the educational complex and also connect to the parking garage below the adjacent Mamilla shopping center.
The renovation is to take two years, but during this time the museum is to remain open, at least to a limited extent. There will be temporary exhibitions as well as tours of the history, churches and archaeology of Jerusalem, along with cultural events.
The Tower of David Museum tells the whole history of Jerusalem, and the tower is considered a universal symbol of the city. Last year over 500,000 people visited the museum, accounting for 80 percent of the museum’s budget. Due to the coronavirus closures, the museum’s income was completely lost. Eighty-five percent of the staff had to take unpaid leave. Even so, a small team is still creating live and virtual programs from the heart of Jerusalem for Israelis and visitors from all over the world. The museum has petitioned the Israeli government and the Ministry of Culture for support and continues to seek funding to keep this Jerusalem landmark running.