Israel's largest cultural institution and one of the leading museums worldwide, the Israel Museum marks its 50th anniversary in May 2015. Its encyclopedic collections comprise thousands of items dating from prehistoric times to the present, including the world's most extensive collection of archaeological finds from the Biblical Period and from the Holy Land. With its exceptionally broad perspective on human creative activity, it is a major cultural attraction for Israelis and tourists alike. The Museum's holdings are exhibited in three wings:
The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing tells the story of the ancient Land of Israel, home to numerous peoples, cultures, and faiths, through rare and unique objects. The Wing reveals connections between many of the world's ancient cultures and religions in its exhibitions, publications, and research. The Archaeology Wing is represented by the stamp featuring the Shrine of the Book,
The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the most ancient biblical manuscripts in the world. The Shrine, which also opened in 1965, is known throughout the world for its unique architectural design - a bright white dome juxtaposed with a black wall, designed by architects Armand P. Barton and Frederic J. Kiesler.
The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life houses a rich collection of religious and secular artifacts from Jewish communities around the globe, dating from the Middle Ages to the present. These include rare manuscripts, four reconstructed synagogue interiors, a wide variety of ritual objects, and the largest Hanukkah lamp and Jewish dress collections in the world, as well as a wealth of objects relating to the cycle of life, household items, and jewelry.
The Wing for Jewish Art and Life is represented by the stamp featuring a Synagogue Hanukkah Lamp, Eastern Europe, 18th Century.
The large Hanukkah lamp (110 X 104 cm) standing on a cast-brass base was designed to stand by the Torah ark in the synagogue as a reminder of the Temple menorah. This type of hanukkah lamp was typical of Central and Eastern Europe, and this particular item is among the oldest surviving examples of its kind.
The Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing reflects the broad interdisciplinary nature of the Museum's collections, comprising artworks from both Western and Eastern cultures and spanning hundreds of years of creative activity up to contemporary art. The works are displayed in the Museum galleries, in the Billy Rose Art Garden and at Ticho House.
The Fine Arts Wing is represented by the stamp
featuring Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem, Anish Kapoor, 2010.
Turning the World Upside Down was commissioned
from British artist Anish Kapoor in honor of the Museum's extensive renewal project. The stainless-steel hourglass-shaped sculpture is over five meters in height and reflects its surroundings inversely so that the sky appears to be floating in the bottom section while Jerusalem's urban landscape and the Museum's modern architecture are reflected above. The sculpture is a unique and original expression of the city's dual character - heavenly and earthly Jerusalem.
James S. Snyder
Israel Museum Director