While it's a challenge to round up the top museums in Israel, we accepted the task. Ranging from reigning establishments like the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, to more experimental and quirky museums in Israel like the Design Museum Holon, which features top Israeli fashion, these institutions are among the top Israel attractions, especially when looking for things to do in Israel on a rainy day. These venues offer inspiring encounters with art, history, science and Israeli culture. Feeling artsy? Let us also point you to some of the best Israeli art galleries for some additional inspiration.
Israel's must-see museums
Arguably Israel’s most magnificent cultural asset, the Israel Museum is consistently ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Housing encyclopedic collections with works dating from prehistory to the present day in archaeology, fine art, and Jewish art, this is the place to get schooled on Israel’s 5,000-year history.
Tel Aviv Museum houses the best of Israeli art as well as new and old masters. Gracing the walls of this museum are Israel’s most comprehensive collection of modern, contemporary and Israeli art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of the Old Masters, diverse temporary exhibitions, displays of photography, design and architecture, a performance hall and beautiful, calming sculpture garden to wander around in or relax. The newest addition to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Herta and Paul Amir Building was designed by professor Preston Scott Cohen. The interior space provides a unique setting for the display of contemporary art, a center for architecture and a gallery.
Meticulously curated exhibits display the utmost of thoughtful and esteemed contemporary works. Famed architect Ron Arad's winding spiral of modernity encompasses one of Israel’s most stand-out venues for progressive art and design. A short drive from downtown Tel Aviv, it's definitely worth the visit.
This is a great museum for curious kids and adults alike. Giant exhibitions invite visitors to a hands-on experience surrounding history's greatest scientists and inventors. 3D films in the ‘Cinematrix’ are enhanced by moving seats, wind, water, and bubbles.
The Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art addresses a multitude of genres, including painting, photography and architecture with a special emphasis on installation and digital media. Four exhibitions are held each year, comprising 50 solos showcasing the work of veteran and up-and-coming artists and their relation to current events.
The greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa metropolitan area is scattered with galleries and museums. Among these are the Museums of Bat Yam. The MoBY is separated into three spaces operating in the heart of Bat Yam: the David Ben-Ari Museum for Contemporary Art (main building displaying temporary exhibits, community programs and academic conferences), the Rybak House and the Sholem Asch Museum (home to the MoBY’s permanent collection). From addressing globalism in “The Kids Want Communism” to an exhibition featuring the works of local Bat Yam artists, the three-museum complex will surely captivate the most curious art enthusiasts.
Using murals, reconstructions, dioramas, audio-visual displays, documentary films, and interactive multimedia presentations, Beit Hatfutsot conveys to the world the fascinating narrative of the Jewish people and the essence of the Jewish culture, faith, purpose, and deed while presenting the contribution of world Jewry to humanity.
Purpose-built for kids, this museum offers a range of activities for kids aged 2-12. Unlike conventional museums, children are encouraged to touch all of the displays, and even play a role in the exhibits. Not-to-be-missed are the famous 'Dialogue in the Dark' and 'Invitation to Silence' exhibits, two experiences that provide emotional and telling insight into the worlds of blind and deaf people.
Unique for a number of reasons, the Eretz Israel Museum is especially unusual because its grounds encompass the archeological site of Tel Qasile, dating back to the 12th century B.C.E. The museum houses impressive, permanent collections of coins, mosaics, and Jewish folkloric objects from various periods and regions.
Yad Vashem’s 45-acre campus comprises indoor museums and outdoor monuments, exhibitions, memorial sites, gardens, sculptures, and world-class research and education centers – all devoted to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. The hallowed out cavern with a single candle reflected by a series mirrors commemorates the 1.5 million children killed.