The Palmach Museum

March 3rd 2015

If members of your family balk at the idea of spending time in museums, the innovative Palmach Museum could completely change their minds. Along with the cutting-edge Herzl Museum and Menachem Begin Heritage Museum in Jerusalem, the Palmach Museum offers an immersive role play experience, designed to be experiential rather than passive.

The Palmach Museum, located in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv, is dedicated to the Palmach, the elite “strike force” of the unofficial, para-military Haganah, which operated in pre-State Palestine. Rather than passively learning about the Palmach, museum visitors join a group of brand new Palmach recruits, played by seven actors, each of whom represents a prototypical member of the organization.

As visitors progress through a series of spaces, they get to know these characters through stories of their personalities, training and fighting experiences. The particular pride, motivation, commitment to the Palmach unit and challenges of Palmach soldiers become very real when they are connected to specific figures. Each multi-media room advances the story of this group of seven individuals from their first day as new recruits through the end of the War of Independence in 1948.

This institution has no artifacts in glass cases or dioramas with long descriptions to read. A visit to the Palmach Museum is more like participating in a drama production, although in this case, you and your group will move from room to room. The tour begins and ends in the Palmach Memorial Room, which memorializes real members of the Palmach who died while fighting for Israel’s independence.

The Palmach Museum is open to visitors aged six and above. It takes 90 minutes to go through the entire experience, and you must reserve in advance. The characters speak Hebrew, but headphones with simultaneous English (as well as Russian, Spanish and French) translation are available.

The museum is housed in the Palmach House, which also boasts the Palmach photo gallery, archive and library on the second floor. If your visit to the Palmach Museum leaves you with unanswered questions, the Palmach Information Center is the place to go to learn more about the struggle against the British, the role of female Palmach members, the military nature of the Palmach and much more.