Jerusalem certainly does not lack for museum space. Those looking for a little knowledge and a unique experience know to head to places like the Israel Museum, home to the Dead Sea scrolls and a massive model of the second temple, or the Davidson Southern Wall Excavations for a look what the Old Jerusalem really looked like. But hidden beneath the veneer of Jerusalem's flagship institutions is a whole world of smaller and less well-known, yet no less informative, interesting and well put-together, museums that explore everything from planets to psalms. Here's our list of the top five Jerusalem museums you may have missed.
Jerusalem is famed for all matter of religion, but it's got a top-notch science museum too. Bloomfield Science Museum, right near Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus, offers informative and hands-on exhibits explaining everything from principles of architecture to how the laws of physics operate at amusement parks. And it's super child-friendly. But what makes Bloomfield special is that it has carved a niche for itself by relating exhibits and scientific phenomena to Israel and Jerusalem, like a current exhibit exploring Einstein's Jewish and Zionist roots.
Known primarily as a performance hall and meeting place for various Jewish-themed events and lectures, Beit Avi Chai actually also has a designated exhibit space, with rotating free showings of thought-provoking Israeli art. One recent exhibition showcased photography of the Haredi world, and a current exhibit focuses on the late Amos Kenan, a renaissance man of local art.
Tucked away on Rav Kook street, the Museum of Psalms (near the also worthy Ticho House and Rabbi Kook Museum), is one man's love letter ...er, love painting, to the Book of Psalms, or the Sefer Tehilim, from the Bible. The somewhat pyschadelic interpretations of all 150 psalms (pictured) are represented in this small museum, run by the one man who painted them and who gives free tours. One of the least-known and coolest Jerusalem gems.
While most flock to Jerusalem's Old City for a visit to the Temple Mount, the Arab Souk, The Tower of David, or one of a number of other attractions, tucked away in a corner in the Jewish Quarter is a museum that is one of Jerusalem's best kept secrets. The Burnt House may look like just another excavation site showing the home of Second Temple era denizens, but a sound and light exhibit tells the back story of the home, how it was discovered and what living there was like for its ancient inhabitants, using both the uncovered home and other antiquities discovered in the area. Why the name? You'll have to go to find out.
Sitting right on the line between east and west Jerusalem (hence "seam"), the Museum on the Seam tackles controversial issues of place, personality, history and more without pulling any punches. While the museum is most fitting to those with an anarcho-leftist point of view, going with an open mind can open up whole new worlds of thought.
While we think those "smaller" museums are the five best, you might not, and Jerusalem is simmering with other options. For those interested in Zionist history, you can visit the Shai Agnon House in Talpiot, the Herzl Museum on the other side of town or the Museum of the Underground Prisoners near Safra Square. If art is your thing, the Jerusalem Artists House and Jerusalem Print Workshop may be right up your alley. And those looking for a Jewish look at things can visit the Rabbi Kook Museum just off of Zion Square, or the Museum of Italian Jewish Art on central Hillel Street.