Tower of David Museum $40m revamp to start in 2019

The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem is set for a $40m revamp and expansion that will add a new entrance complex and new wings for contemporary art with work starting in 2019.

The project will see the size of the museum nearly double from 7,895sqm to 15,000sqm with the permanent exhibition increasing to 4,000sqm. Kimmel Eshkolot Architects developed the plans.

The first phase of the work will concentrate on the construction of the new entrance. The new building will be located in the Gan David area of the complex, where the current exit can be found. It is intended to make it easier for visitors to find their way.

Eilat Lieber, director and curator of the Tower of David Museum, told Haaretz: “People get lost on the way. The museum building and its surroundings were originally built as a military structure, and as such they didn’t want people to know how to enter it. We’re going to reverse the entrance, so it will be from the direction of the west of the city.”

A new wing of the museum will be constructed in the Kishleh, a former prison complex where rare remains from the palace of King Herod were discovered. The new wing will focus on exhibits that use virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.

Another new building will be constructed outside of the wall, in the area of the Byzantine-era digs. It will be used to house exhibitions and expose the archaeological remains of the site. It will also be connected to the Mamilla Mall by a tunnel.

As the structure of the museum changes, so will some of the content.

“The permanent exhibition will change and there will be temporary exhibitions in the museum,” Lieber told Haaretz.

“Along with the historical narrative, there will be works of art and contemporary design on display, as well as reflections of culture in the broad sense, such as food and clothing.”

The Clore Israel Foundation will fund the majority of the project with contributions from the Tourism Ministry and the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry.

The Tower of David Museum opened in 1989 and tells the story of the history of Jerusalem. It was the fourth most visited museum in the country last year.

Image: c. Tower of David, Naftali Hilger. 

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