September 12th 2014
You might expect an archaeological museum to have lots of pottery shards and other ancient artifacts. And indeed, the Archaeological Museum at Kibbutz Ein Dor, located at the base of Mount Tabor in the Lower Galilee, 11 miles west of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), does have permanent exhibits full of ancient artifacts.
A primary goal of the museum is to promote coexistence among the Jewish, Arab, Bedouin, Druze, Muslim, Christian, and Ukrainian Cherkassy residents of the region. The Archaeological Museum at Kibbutz Ein Dor is visited by over 17,000 people each year, the vast majority of whom are Jewish and Arab school children. The museum’s educators focus on interactive, state-of-the-art exhibits that allow young visitors to gain insight into the way people lived and coexisted in the region in the past.
In the spirit of the museum’s goal of promoting coexistence, an award-winning exhibit in the museum is called Learning from the Past – Building Bridges Today. It has been operating for over 18 years. Each year, thousands of Jewish and Arab children between the ages of 9 and 11 use archaeological tools to better understand the origins of each other’s cultures.
Another flagship exhibit is the museum’s interactive Peace Labyrinth, which is toured by 10,000 Jewish and Arab school children a year. The Peace Labyrinth, adapted from a Dutch model, was designed for children from ages 10-16. All instructions and written materials for the exhibit are presented in both Hebrew and Arabic. Its goal is to teach children more about conflicts, how they arise and ways they can be resolved. The Peace Labyrinth is, indeed, built in a labyrinth form and has four themes that represent the four different stages of conflict.
Guided tours of the museum’s newest wing introduce visitors to the everyday activities of ancient cultures, such as working in an olive grove, working an olive press, harvesting wheat and baking bread. Depending on the season, visitors get the chance to participate meaningfully in some of these tasks. In this wing, the annual Olive Festival and the Milk and Honey Festival, modern interpretations of ancient festivals, are recreated in order to bring to life past traditions and celebrations.