Rockefeller Archaeological Museum

Rockefeller Archaeological Museum

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based on 612 traveler reviews
photo of Rockefeller Archaeological Museumphoto by: Rockefeller Archaeological Museum
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The Rockefeller Museum was the first building designed to be an antiquities museum during the British Mandate. The museum is considered an architectural gem in the Jerusalem landscape and a landmark in Israel's modern architecture history. Visiting the museum will expose you to a magnificent building containing a diverse collection of antiquities discovered in the Holy Land throughout the British Mandate.

Visiting Rockefeller Museum - A Jerusalem Architectural Gem

The Rockefeller Museum is a living testimony to the wealth of cultures that took part in the history of the Land of Israel. The visit to the Rockefeller Museum takes the visitor back to the beginning of archaeological research in our region. The objects displayed in the museum are rare cornerstones of local archaeology, mostly from excavations conducted in the first decades of the 20th century. The main display in the museum spans two halls, and it is arranged chronologically. 

The museum also has displays based on various themes, such as the Egyptian Empire in the Land of Canaan, wooden reliefs from Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Umayyad period, the marble windows of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher from the Crusader period, remains of ancient synagogues from the Roman and Byzantine periods, old coins, gold jewelry and a reconstructed burial cave from the Bronze Middle Age. 

The museum's structure is reminiscent of European castles from the Middle Ages, and its two central halls are reminiscent of the inner space of cathedrals. The design of the domes and the arches of the building were inspired by Islamic architecture. Inside the amenity is an inner courtyard with a pool in the center inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Spain.


The history of the Rockefeller Museum

The museum was founded by James Henry Brasted, founder, and director of the Center for Oriental Studies at the University of Chicago, who, during his trip to Palestine in 1925, was amazed to discover that there was no proper archaeological museum in Jerusalem. Brasted enlisted the help of the American philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., who donated much money to the project. The site chosen for the building was northeast of the old city, on Sultan Suleiman Street. 

When the museum opened its doors in 1938, its official name was the Palestine Archaeological Museum, but even then, it was known to the public as the Rockefeller Museum. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israeli forces captured the unusual octagonal structure and used its towers as observation posts. Since Israel established its control over East Jerusalem, the museum has been managed in cooperation between the Israel Museum and the Antiquities Authority, whose main offices are also in the building.

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based on 612 traveler reviews
  • Robert Bennett
    Robert Bennett
    November 20, 2022

    The depth and breadth of this hidden gem is astounding. More advertising could be done to bring in patrons and visitors. If you enjoy a free museum, that’s one of the oldest in Egypt and has absolutely remarkable collecti...

  • Basia SDS
    Basia SDS
    August 24, 2023

    Free entrance, quite a big exposition, part of the exposition outside. However, not everything has descriptions, the museum is opened only on 3 days per week.

  • Pearl Xia
    Pearl Xia
    December 4, 2019

    A nice museum with very few people, funny. Maybe comparing to the other sights, it’s not that important for Jerusalem. But there are many beautiful antiques which are worthy to see. Don’t follow the googlemap. The entranc...

  • Boris Zamansky
    Boris Zamansky
    May 11, 2021

    Perfect match for Indiana funs and friends. It's empty and for free parking on Saturday. Authentic place at the foot of the Old city walls, with terrible traffic of Sheikh Jerah and feeling in another univers. Island of S...

  • Tetsuya desu
    Tetsuya desu
    October 23, 2019

    Very interesting collection of historical artifacts from all around this region are displayed, some of them even belong to the sites where regular tourists wouldn't get chance to reqch. Besides, the mueum building itself...

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  • address iconSultan Suleiman St 27 Jerusalem, Jerusalem
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