Israel’s museums stay open, but with limits; special events canceled
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Israel’s museums stay open, but with limits; special events canceled

Local cultural institutions restrict number of visitors to 100 per gallery at any time, set up hygiene stands

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The outdoor areas of The Tower of David Museum at the Jaffa Gate make it a little easier to visit during the restrictions necessitated by the 2020 coronavirus (Courtesy Tower of David Museum)
The outdoor areas of The Tower of David Museum at the Jaffa Gate make it a little easier to visit during the restrictions necessitated by the 2020 coronavirus (Courtesy Tower of David Museum)

With regulations in place restricting Israelis to gatherings of 100 people or less amid the coronavirus crisis, Israel’s museums are adjusting their visitor rules and conditions.

Changes include limiting the number of visitors in each gallery, instituting hygiene stations, bringing art activities to schools, and putting more exhibit material online.

What follows is a list of what’s happening in several of Israel’s largest and most visited museums:

The Israel Museum is working on an online program for seeing and engaging with its exhibits, to be maintained for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

All of the Israel Museum’s gallery talks, conferences and guided tours have been canceled for the time being. Museum staff are steering visitors to galleries and spaces, to be sure that the 100-person limit for enclosed places imposed on Wednesday night is followed.

Two of the Israel Museum’s permanent outdoor exhibits, the Sculpture Garden and Second Temple model, are regarded as good choices for visitors.

Robert Indiana’s 1977 sculpture ‘Ahava’ at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is always a good place to visit, but particularly during the 2020 coronavirus (Wikimedia Commons/ Pikiwikisrael CC BY 2.5)

The Jerusalem Bible Land Museum is open for business, though it is not offering its virtual reality experience. The Fun2C app, however, is available for downloading.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is open, but special events, festivals, meetings and performances are canceled. The museum will limit the number of visitors in its galleries in accordance with Health Ministry regulations.

Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum has several outdoor spaces within the ancient complex, which makes visiting easier, according to museum director Eilat Lieber, who stressed that the museum has weathered many crises in the past.

Other smaller museums, like the Herzliya Museum, will continue to function but with limits in accordance with the new regulations.

At the Eretz Israel Museum on the Tel Aviv University campus, it’s business as usual, a museum spokesperson said.

Six Haifa museums — the Haifa Museum of Art, Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, The National Maritime Museum, Haifa City Museum and the Mané Katz and Hermann Struck Museums — are all open, but lectures and conferences are canceled.

As at other museums around the country, hand cleaning stations have been installed, and Haifa museum staff intend to offer staggered scheduling for group visits over the next few weeks.

There are also plans to offer museum activities in schools and organizations, so that visitors don’t miss the opportunity to be part of all that the museum world has to offer, said Yotam Yakir, CEO of the Haifa museums.

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