The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. In just fifty years, thanks to a legacy of gifts and generous support from its circle of patrons worldwide, the Museum has built a far-ranging collection representing the full scope of world material culture.
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was inaugurated in May 11, 1965. In the summer of 2010, the Israel Museum completed the most comprehensive upgrade of its 20-acre campus in its history, featuring new galleries, entrance facilities, and public spaces. The three-year expansion and renewal project was designed to enhance visitor experience of the Museum’s collections, architecture, and surrounding landscape, complementing its original design by Alfred Mansfeld and Dora Gad. Led by James Carpenter Design Associates of New York and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects of Tel Aviv, the project also included the complete renewal and reconfiguration of the Museum’s Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing, Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing, and Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life.
The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life in the Israel Museum holds the world's most comprehensive collection of objects pertaining to Jewish religious and secular material culture from the Middle Ages up until today. The origins of the collection can be traced to the early twentieth century with the establishment of the Bezalel National Museum, and the expansion of its collection of ritual art objects through treasures rescued between the two world wars and after the Holocaust. This treasure was then integrated into the newly established Israel Museum in 1965. Over the years the Wing's holdings have been strengthened through gifts and acquisitions of individual objects; private collections; and fieldwork within communities in Israel and abroad. The wing's collection contains many unique treasures, among them are rare manuscripts, four reconstructed synagogue interiors, a wide variety of ceremonial and ritual objects, as well as diverse material culture including dress, jewelry and everyday artifacts.