This landmark museum on the campus of Tel Aviv University is in the midst of a major rejuvenation to completely remodel the museum structurally and conceptually. Even its name has changed. Originally the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, today it is known as the Museum of the Jewish People, as the story of the Jewish people is still unfolding. 

Second life for Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People

 

Museum designer Patrick Gallagher's vision for the "Foundations of Jewish Life" exhibit at Beit Hatfutsot

By Sarah Carnvek

The summer of 2011 was one the staff at Beit Hatfutsot -The Museum of the Jewish People will remember. Thanks to an innovative exhibit, A-Ba-Ga-Da (A-B-See-Do) dedicated to the Hebrew language, throngs of people made their way to this museum that not so long ago was on the verge of shutting down.

Second life for Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People

Avinoam Armoni, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot

"I loved seeing the effect of that on the staff," says CEO Avinoam Armoni. "To see the faces of the veteran members of the team … was quite touching and very, very rewarding. This was a most satisfying proof that even an aging museum could get a second life and do a good job."

This landmark museum on the campus of Tel Aviv University is in the midst of a major rejuvenation. Final plans for the $25 million project are now being drawn up to completely remodel the museum structurally and conceptually.

Even its name has changed. Originally the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, it documented the cultural and religious backgrounds of the Jewish people throughout the world and the return to Zion.

"The idea of the museum’s founders was that it was the history of the Jewish Diaspora, which started with the destruction of the Temple and ended with the return to Zion, the last chapter in Diaspora history," says Armoni. "But we know that there is still thriving life in the Diaspora, meaning we need a different approach." Today it is known as the Museum of the Jewish People.

"The transformation means we will no longer focus on the Diaspora part of the story but we’ll tell the Jewish story. It will start with Abraham and Sarah from the Bible, and there will be no end – it will continue to develop, as the story of the Jewish people is still unfolding," explains Armoni.

"We are inviting our visitors – both Jewish and non-Jewish – to add something to the museum. We are designing a museum that is interactive, that will make room for visitors to leave a mark."