The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv is the third third largest museum in Israel, and exhibits Israeli culture, past and present.
In addition to the 10 permanent exhibitions and ancient sites, the museum displays about 20 temporary exhibits every year.
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.
The Eretz Israel Museum was first founded as the Haaretz Museum in 1958.
Dr. Walter Moses bequeathed archeological collection, evaluated at over a million dollars, and his extensive art and archeological library to the Tel Aviv Municipality on condition that it builds a museum which will exhibit his collection.
His collection his glass and antiquities collection, was regarded by him as documentation of the history of Eretz Israel culture.
To him, in addition to the Jews, included artistic work of other peoples such as the Phoenicians, Canaanites, Romans, Nabataeans, Christians, and Arabs.
Moses regarded the country’s multiculturalism as the core of its unique history and as the basis for buildings its culture and future.
Despite the numerous offers, Moses chose the city of Tel Aviv for his museum, believing that it should also become the country’s cultural center.
He wrote that the Haaretz Museum is designated to serve as Tel Aviv’s museum of archeology and folklore.
He also dictated that special attention should be devoted to the culture of Eretz Israel, the countries of the Middle-East, and the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, and a special department should be designed for glass.
In addition to the permanent exhibits are sites worth visiting including the Flour Mill, Yael Garden, Olive Oil Plant, Mosaic Square, and Old Fire Engine.
In addition the many temporary exhibits the Eretz Israel museum displays ever year, there are a number of permanent exhibitions.
The Glass Pavilion was the first in the Eretz Israel Museum’s collectin.
It takes visitors on back thousands of years to the earliest days of glassmaking in this region.
Donated by Dr. Walter Moses, this rare and beautiful assemblage of glass has grown with exciting new acquisitions and significant donations.
Among the unique items are fragile relics of glass dating from biblical times, as well as some of the earliest blown glass discovered from the Roman period.
Ethnography and Folklore
The exhibit focuses on integral part of Jewish cultural heritage.
The gathering of Jews from so many locations during the great waves of immigration to Israel contributed to the creation of this fascinating collection.
The many aspects of Jewish life can be seen in items used in religious rituals and the ethnographic objects associated with traditions and ceremonies.
The Jewish home and family ceremonies are as diverse as the communities that make up the Jewish world.
There is also local Judaica on display dating back to 1880 through the 1960s.
This notes the changes made by the waves of immigration and their impact on the shape and symbolism of local Judaica artifacts.
Due to the discernable changes in the shape, style and manufacture of ceramic vessels from one era to the next, archaeologists use pottery as a key tool in period classification and dating.
Here we can traces the evolution of three basic pottery vessels used in the Land of Israel – the oil lamp, cooking pot and the storage jar.
On display are handmade pottery from Ancient Cyprus, wheel-made pottery in Ancient Israel, wheel-made pottery in Ancient Egypt and Greece, and handmade pottery from contemporary village societies in Africa and Central America.
Clay and pottery use for writing materials is also on display.
Among the items on display are a foundation cone and administrative documents of the 3rd-1st century BCE, including one letter inside its clay envelope.
In addition, there are samples of early Hebrew writing on pottery from the First Temple Period and a Babylonian Jewish incantation bowl from the 9th-11th century, written in Aramaic.
Kadman Numismatic Pavilion
The Kadman Numismatic Pavilion, where the evolution of coinage in the Land of Israel takes you from the days before coins were used in the 6th century BCE until today.
One of Israel’s largest and most important coin collections, it was founded initiative of Leo Kadman, whose collection, together with that of Dr. Walter Moses, formed the core of this exhibit.
Nechushtan Pavilion tells the story of the revolutionary developments after it was discovered that copper ore could be converted into metallic copper.
From the smelting furnaces of the Chalcolithic period to the mining expeditions of the Egyptian pharaohs in Timna – also known as King Solomon’s mines – mining and metal-works in the ancient Middle East grew in sophistication.
At the entrance to the pavilion is an underground shaft and gallery mine from the Chalcolithic Period and the Late Bronze Ag.
Here there are remains of stone hammers, flint blades, copper chisels, and other mining tools, all with their unique period markings.
Man and His Work Center
The Center displays the traditional material culture of the Land of Israel in numerous aspects of daily life.
Archaeological finds show that work tools, artifacts, and production methods have scarcely changed over thousands of years of history.
In fact, they have been used until recent years in the Arab localities, Bedouin encampments and by Jews living in the Land of Israel and neighboring countries.
Most of the exhibits in the collection are ethnographical and relate to recent generations but they are enlightening as they show life in ancient times as well.
For comparison, ancient artifacts and tools have been incorporated into the exhibit, with reference to their date and place of origin.
For visiting hours and ticket prices, see the Eretz Israel Museum websites.
The Alexander Museum of Postal History and Philately is also within the complex.