Museum in Jerusalem to Get $40 Million Expansion and Refreshed Content

Rendering of the renovated entrance for Tower of David Museum.
Rendering of the renovated entrance for Tower of David Museum.
(Kimmel Eshkolot Architects)

The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is gearing up for a $40 million expansion in 2019. Part of the renovation will be an enhanced entrance, which will be repositioned on the west side, plus a new wing, archaeological digs, and expanded content including artworks, changing exhibitions, displays with augmented reality, and artifacts to tell the historical narrative of Jerusalem.

As the fourth most popular museum in Jerusalem, Tower of David is mostly funded by visitors (450,000 visited last year), which director and curator Eilat Lieber says makes the museum "ideologically independent."

“The Tower of David Museum has always aimed to tell the whole story of Jerusalem,” says Lieber. “We’re located at the entrance to the four quarters [of the Old City], we show all the cultures and relate the historical continuum, which explains that Jerusalem was controlled over the years by different religions. Our staff is also composed of a human mosaic. We have Muslims and Christians on the staff, so that the activity will be genuine and based on fact.”

Haaretz asks Lieber: Is it possible that in the future we will see an exhibition dealing with Jerusalem’s Palestinian refugee camps? (Just on Monday, at least 60 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured by Israeli troops, according to officials in Gaza, during protests as U.S. officials placed a marker where a new American embassy in Jerusalem will stand. Palestinians see the move as dashing their hopes for the eastern part of the city to be the capital of a Palestinian state.)

Says Lieber, “Absolutely. That’s something that can be discussed. There have already been exhibitions in the museum that discussed conflicts. The 2015 exhibition “Objective” by Haim Parnas and Ezri Tarazi referred to geopolitical issues. We definitely believe that it’s our job to create a balanced conversation that presents the urban pulse. The moment we advertise series to the general public for which there’s a demand, and it’s not done from tax money —– nobody can say anything to us about the content. The financial independence gives us a lot of power.”

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