Top Art Museums to Tour in Israel

June 16th 2013

Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art and the Glass MuseumArtists and art fans alike will delight in visiting some of the 40-plus museums in Israel that are devoted to visual arts and design. While Jerusalem’s state-managed Israel Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art draw the largest international audiences and exhibitions, many prefer the lesser-known but no less significant art museums in Ashdod, Herzliya and Petach Tikva. Israel is also flush with niche art museums, such as the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa or the Glass Museum in Arad, which focus on the work of a single artist or a single theme. Not surprisingly, the major cities host the most renowned art museums in Israel.

The Israel Museum in JerusalemThe Israel Museum in Jerusalem is Israel’s national museum. The sprawling campus includes sections devoted to fine arts from Europe, Israel, Africa and Asia displayed in 7,200 square feet of gallery space. The Israel Museum’s massive, multidisciplinary collection includes artwork from 2000 BCE up to contemporary times. The museum holds a carved female figurine that is considered to be the oldest piece of art in the world.

Tel Aviv Museum of ArtGiven that Tel Aviv is Israel’s national center for arts and culture, it’s no surprise that the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is arguably the nation’s top museum for modern and contemporary art from Israel and around the world. A permanent collection of 35,000 individual works of art, 20 special exhibits throughout the year and a full calendar of guided tours, lectures, films and more entices 500,000 people to visit the museum each year.

Featuring 7,500 works of art by both Israeli and international artists, the Haifa Museum of Art focuses on two main collections – the painting and sculpture collection and the contemporary graphics colection. The museum features a New Media Center that contains rich archives of the history of Israeli video. Another intriguing series of exhibitions invites prominent intellectuals and well-known individuals in the art world to select their personal favorites from the museum’s collections and to reflect on their choices in a written essay.

The Holon Design MuseumFinally, The Holon Design Museum is worth singling out. Located within the Mediatheque, a multifaceted cultural center that includes the largest public library in Israel, the Holon Design Museum aims to give visitors avenues through which to interact with the ideas, principles, processes and objects of design. The city of Holon aspires to be an international center for design, and the museum’s distinctive exhibitions and educational activities support this ambition.