Renewal at the Tower of David Museum
In March 2020, the Tower of David Museum embarked upon a $50 million Renewal and Conservation Project generously supported by lead donor, Dame Vivien Duffield and the Clore Israel Foundation with additional support from the Drahi Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, the Ministry of Tourism, the American Friends of Museums in Israel and Keren Hayesod.
The iconic citadel of Jerusalem is being conserved and preserved in a massive project that is ensuring that the ancient stones, towers and turrets of this landmark heritage site will continue to proudly dominate the skyline of Jerusalem. Within the walls and spaces of the citadel, the architects, designers, conservators, archaeologists and curators are creating a 21st century museum that introduces new technologies alongside authentic artifacts to create a new permanent exhibition that tells the full story of the city. The new exhibition will tell Jerusalem's story both chronologically and thematically and will inspire and arouse the curiosity of its millions of visitors. The project emphasizes sustainability and conservation to safeguard the natural ecosystem of one of the world’s oldest cities, Jerusalem and, for the first time in history, the citadel and museum will be physically accessible to all with the addition of elevators and accessible entrances.
Ground has also been broken on the new Patrick and Lina Drahi Foundation Entrance Pavilion which will welcome visitors directly from Jaffa Gate Square and change the entire visitor flow of the museum to serve as a bridge for everyone entering the Old City from the West. The new entrance will be complete with visitor services, conveniences and a café and the lower level of the building will be dedicated to educational spaces as well as to a 1500 square foot Contemporary Art and Design Gallery.
An important component of the project is the conservation of the iconic tower that crowns the citadel. The minaret, constructed in 1635 when the Ottoman Turks ruled the city, suffers from six major cracks and crumbling and deteriorating stones, a victim of time and weather. There is a very real threat that even a minor earthquake, which occurs with frightening reality in the region, could destroy it completely. To safeguard this symbol of the city, the Tower of David Museum embarked on a massive project to preserve it.
Israeli and Italian experts analyzed how to earthquake-proof the structure and a team of leading archaeologists, conservators and geologists, architects and engineers monitor its stability. They are conserving and strengthening every stone in the minaret, removing each one, piece by piece, and reassembling them to return the minaret to its original appearance. By the spring of 2023, the scaffolding will come down and the famous tower will once again dominate the Jerusalem skyline as it has for almost 400 years.
A separate capital project is the new Tower of David Learning Center that will offer an appropriate home and facilities for an expanded and renewed Learning Department. Recognizing the acute lack of space in the museum for learning encounters and the importance of revitalizing the entrance to the Old City, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry for Jerusalem and Heritage are matching partners with the museum in the establishment of the Learning Center and National Park. The Museum is currently looking for additional naming and funding partners.
The historically rich area beneath and beside Jaffa Gate Square, containing Roman and First Temple archaeological remains, lies directly across the street from the entrance to the museum and will be connected with an underground promenade, an elevator and a stairway to create a contiguous entrance from West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem including light railway stops. Visitors to the museum will be able to arrive directly from the nearby car parks to the Learning Center and onto the museum entrance.
The Center will be home to the staff of the educational department and will offer novel and experiential educational programming to children and adults, locals and visitors, Jews and non-Jews. The Learning Center will house an educational complex of offices and classrooms as well as a welcome lobby. In addition it includes a 200-seat auditorium that will be the only large venue in the Old City area that can be used for lectures, concerts, conferences and seminars. Pre-pandemic, the Museum engaged over 100,000 participants annually in learning activities, but the physical restraints of the citadel have severely limited the quantity and scope of programming. With the opening of the renewed museum, the demand for educational programming is expected to triple.
An additional and separate capital project is the new Herodian Wing which will house an archaeological gallery together with the excavated “Kishle” site which will be brought to life by a multi-sensory experience. The Kishle is an enclosed archaeological excavation within an historic building that descends 10 meters into the ground and tells the story of Jerusalem, through archaeological remains, from the 8th Century BCE to the present day.
The renowned international museum design team, Local Projects, collaborated for months with Tower of David curators and researchers to design a unique experience that combines rigorous scholarship with cutting edge technology and all within the walls of a magnificent archaeological site. The project is being supported by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage and the Ministry of Tourism and the Museum is looking for additional naming and funding partners.
This capital project is the most exciting and rewarding adventure in Jerusalem today. You can be part of this rebuilding of Jerusalem. For more information on opportunities to donate to the renewal project please contact email@example.com