Off the Beaten Track Museums
Here are some insider's tips about places people don't really know about, so you can see Israel through the eyes of a local. If you have visited Israel more than once, then you will probably appreciate this post, and even if you haven't this might add some flavour to the usual tourist spots.
If you do venture out to the ruins of Cesarea, you might want to just go a few extra hundred metres to check out the Ralli Museum, and I assure you, you won't be disappointed. The Ralli Museum, is a free museum dedicated to Latin American and Spanish art. The Recanati family, founders of the museum (who also own Recanati winery) wanted to bring greater awareness and exposure of Latin American and Spanish Art to the Public sphere. Their Philanthropic pursuit of this cause, has created 5 Ralli Museums, 2 in Caesarea, 1 in Uruguay, 1 in Marbella, and another in Chile. There are some fascinating pieces inside the Museum, as well as some impressive acquisitions of Dali sculptures. The actual buildings in and of themselves are impressive and are dedicated to the Jews who perished in the expulsion from Spain and Portugal in 1492. Another reason to add this to your itinerary is for a section of the museum which is dedicated to the history of Cesarea, while walking around the ruins of Cesarea is impressive, the site lacks user friendly information on the history, excavation and findings there, which is what this exhibition makes up for. The exhibition takes you on a chronological journey through the development of Cesarea as a major Roman Sea port until its destruction. A visit here will greatly increase your understanding of the site.
Check opening times before you go!
If you are headed to the Gilboa region, you've had a dip in the natural springs of Gan Hashlosha (Sahne), had a lazy lunch at Kimmel B'Gilboa or the Herb Farm, then for dessert I recommend heading towards the Mishkan Museum of Art at Ein Harod. The Museum provides an eye into the artistic interpretation of Kibbutz Life, the influence of Jewish life and experience in art, as well as the experience of living and working the land of Israel. While many contemporary art museums found in large cities, reflect a sterile, modern, urbanised feel, this museum evokes a rustic emotion, that connects it the Kibbutz heritage that it embodies. If you haven't visited yet, then get on your bicycle and check it out.
3) The Jo Allon Centre - Museum of Bedouin Culture - Lahav Forest
This museum is one of a kind, completely dedicated to the life of Bedouins. It gives an informative window into their culture and practices and comes complete with a Bedouin tent, where the Coffee ceremony may be performed. If you are headed south and you are interested in understanding a bit more about the populations of the Negev, this is a must. You might want to combine this visit with a drop into the Lakiya Bedouin Women’s weaving project. The visitor’s centre, enables you to learn more about empowering Bedouin women and their amazing handicrafts.
Tucked away in the heart of Ashdod is this gem of a museum! The Sea People made their way to Israel at the beginning of the Iron Age, and after being defeated by Egypt, they settled in the cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gat and Ekron. Many decisive battles in the Bible were fought against the Philistines. They introduced iron into Israel which they brought with them from the north, and adopted common practices of places they invaded along the way such as burial in Anthropomoid coffins, similar to a Mummie’s coffin. This Museum, is very modern with excellent descriptions for the visitor and interactive exhibitions for the kids!
This amazing new interactive museum is perfect for the whole family, it provides a history of Jewish music along with interactive exhibitions to keep kids interested, but you might find yourself bopping along as well! It’s situated in an area of Jerusalem just behind the central Zion Square called Kikar Hamusica. There are a few other interesting museums in the area such as the Museum of North African Jewry (entrance by appointment only) and the Friends of Zion Museum.
6) Yung Yiddish - A Living Museum to Yiddish, houses over 50 000 books, articles, games, sheet music and anything Yiddish, they also host Yiddish performances and maintain an active connection with the community inviting high school and university students in the volunteer. Yung Yiddish is located in the New Tel Aviv Bus Station, tucked away on the 5th level near other artist studios. Since you’re here check out the graffitti exhibition on Level 7 and perhaps stay for a site specific performance by Mystorin theatre . To do a tour of the Bus Station contact me it’s an a-MAZE-ing building.
Honourable mentions: The Israeli Airforce Museum in Hatzerim - So many cool planes! Vidor Centre - A window to ARAVA Agriculture - so many interactive displays a fun place to stop on the way to Eilat - pre-book!