Tale of Two Museums: Tel Aviv Museum and Israel Museum
In late May when I visited Israel, I had the opportunity to visit two museums: Tel Aviv Museum and Israel Museum. Enjoyed both. This post is a review of those visits, and then some questions for readers about museum visiting.
Tel Aviv Museum
If you like 20th century art and/or you are interested in the history of the modern State of Israel, the Tel Aviv Museum has collections of artists from the pre-State era to contemporary times. When we (I went with Hannah Katsman) visited in late May, there was an exhibit of paintings by Angelica Schatz, the estranged daughter of the founder of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. She had a difficult life; she was Boris Schatz’s daughter by his first marriage, and his first wife took Angelica with her when she left Boris for another man. Her paintings were influenced by European painters of the 20th century. Angelica moved to Israel after her father’s death; she never really knew him.
A huge benefit of the Tel Aviv Museum that the Israel Museum did not have was the TA Museum has free wifi. So I was able to read about the exhibits online as we viewed them. Free wifi is a big plus for a museum.
The Israel Museum is located in the center of west Jerusalem. It has more variety than the Tel Aviv Museum, and it is close to the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament building).
If you like studying prehistoric times or the times of the Tanach (the Jewish bible – stands for Torah – Neviim (Prophets) – Ketuvim (Writings)), the Israel Museum has a lot to offer. I remember seeing the bones of a woman from – how long ago? There are also exhibits of Judaica from around the world, such as the sukkah from Cochin, Southern India that was dis-assembled and re-assembled in the museum. There was a special exhibit about Herod, but as there was so much to see in the regular exhibits, we felt no need to wait online for the special exhibit. As I am using the Israel Museum website to research this post, I will add it could use some better details of regular exhibits and better navigation. It took me a while to find information about the sukkah from Cochin.
The previous time I had been in the Israel Museum was in 1980 – the museum has grown a lot since then. What I remembered from 1980 was the sculpture garden. Unfortunately, the link on the website for the Billy Rose Art Garden gives an error. A big #Fail on this museum website! I had done some drawings in 1980 in the sculpture garden, in particular one of a woman fallen (Isha Nofelet). I can’t find anything about this sculpture in the excellent Wikimedia page on the garden. Here is one photo of part of the sculpture garden:
What I Would Do Differently
I would probably review the exhibits on the museum’s website the night before, to know what to expect, to make better choices and to get an idea about the details of the exhibits. When you are going to a museum with another person, each of you has your own ideas about what is worth seeing. If you know in advance you want to see or linger in a certain collection, it’s easier to say so if you have more information about the exhibits.
Tell us your experience with museums.
What is your favorite museum? Best features? Why would you recommend a museum?