Biblical Archaeology Review 30:2, March/April 2004

Strata: Bible Lands Museum Prepares to Expand

Aegean Gallery, More Spacefor Programming to Be Added

By Suzanne F. Singer

Fueled by the vision and energy of its founder, Dr. Elie Borowski, the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem (BLMJ) has announced the next step in Elie’s dream—the enlargement of the museum that houses his extraordinary collection of ancient Near Eastern artifacts illuminating the Bible. Borowski died on January 14, 2003, only months short of his 90th birthday.a

A statement of hope in the future at a time of painfully diminished tourism in Israel, the expansion will, at last, allow the gems of Borowski’s classical art to be displayed in a new Aegean Gallery. The 130,000-square-foot addition on a steep slope behind and connected to the existing museum will also add sorely needed space for educational programs for Arab and Jewish schoolchildren and adults, long a hallmark of the museum. The museum’s unique educational coexistence project, “The Image of Abraham,” now in its sixth year, brings Arab and Jewish children together to learn about the cultures of the ancient Near East and shared elements in Jewish and Muslim heritage.

Until now, many activities have been squeezed into storage rooms at the museum. Wednesday night lectures and Saturday night concerts in a new auditorium will accommodate up to 400 people, more than twice the capacity of the present hall. The popular family and children’s programs during holidays and in the summer, with hands-on workshops related to the collections of the museum, will finally have appropriate space. Conservation laboratory space will grow, as will the research library.

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