Israel museums display the past of the Holy Land through relics and artifacts, reminding travelers of the ancient history of this region. Many museums are located in Jerusalem and other cities including Haifa, Hadera, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, and Galilee and the Golan regions. Some of the best museums in Israel display permanent collections as well as providing new exhibitions throughout the year, meaning that whenever you go to Israel there will be something to learn.
There are numerous Jerusalem museums to choose from while visiting the city, and they feature archaeological items such as tools, jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and ancient weapons, while others focus on modern-day science, maritime issues, and contemporary art. One of the most famous is the Israel Museum, which is the country's national museum and home to such wonders as the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Jerusalem museums feature works from many cultures; for instance, the Armenian Museum is situated in the Old City of Jerusalem. The museum documents the lives of the Armenian community through its impressive collection displayed in 30 rooms featuring jewelry, sculptures, religious artifacts, and household items used by the community.
The Islamic culture is depicted through art, books, pottery, glassware, coins, swords, and architectural items on display at the Islamic Museum of the Temple Mount. This museum in Israel, located in the Old City quarter of Jerusalem, was formerly a mosque and is one of the oldest museums in the country.
The Bible Lands Museum provides an extensive collection of art, featuring the civilizations and cultures that inhabited the ancient biblical lands. Travelers who are interested in further exploring ancient history might also visit a particularly famous museum in Israel: the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum. The museum, established in the 1930s, houses artifacts and antiquities discovered in the area from the 1920s through 1940s.
Of the many Jerusalem museums, the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is by far one of the best museums in Israel. Located near the Jaffa Gate, more than 3,000 years of history are depicted through technology and visual displays providing you with an in-depth experience of the city’s history.
Thousands of visitors to Jerusalem will include a sobering visit to Yad Vashem, a collection of museums paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Also honored here are those non-Jews, called the Righteous Among the Nations, who risked and sometimes lost their lives to save Jews.
Travelers seeking an interesting historical museum in Tel Aviv should consider the Archaeological Museum of Kfar-Saba, which exhibits information about the first inhabitants to the region through the end of the Ottoman era utilizing archaeological artifacts, maps, and drawings.
If your trip to Israel is focused on smaller cities, rather than spending time only in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, there are still numerous options for visiting a museum. Israel museums located elsewhere include the Khan Museum of the History of Hadera, which is situated on the remnants of an Ottoman period farmstead and features indoor and outdoor permanent exhibits depicting the history of the founders of the city of Hadera. In nearby Caesarea, the Ralli Museum features a collection of artwork by modern artists as well as old masters including a gallery devoted to surrealist Salvador Dali.
A museum in Israel focusing on maritime history is the National Maritime Museum located in Haifa, a coastal city on the Mediterranean. Founded in 1953, the museum contains a 7,000-item collection devoted to the battles, myths, and ancient artifacts of seafaring history.
At the Israel Railway Museum also in Haifa, visitors will see restored items including locomotives, memorabilia, passenger coaches, and tickets dating to 1892, when the first railway line was established here. At Haifa’s Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, founded in 1959, there are exhibits of approximately 6,000 items of Japanese-related paintings, ornamental books, sketches, ceramics, and sculptures.
In the Galilee and Golan Heights region of the country, one of the largest collections of prehistoric art objects found in Israel and dating back 7,500 years were unearthed at the village of Sha'ar Hagolan. The artifacts are permanently displayed at the Museum of Yarmukian Culture.
Before making a trip to any Israel museums, check entrance times and operating hours for sightseeing and tours. Many of the museums are free to the public while others charge a fee, and it’s helpful to know ahead of time. In the end, no matter what part of Israel you plan to see on your vacation, there are sure to be plenty of museums to ensure that you return home with a deeper knowledge and understanding of this fascinating country.