We had planned to go to the Diaspora museum, but after talking to my mom (who we found out had never been there) we decided to wait and save it for during her visit next month. We went looking online for something else that looked fun, and came across the website for the Eretz yisroel Museum in Tel Aviv.
It looked pretty cool and said it had a lot of participation stuff for kids so we stuck it into the plans. They were not wrong. There was a lot of stuff for kids to do- in the summer. Most of the stuff that brought us to the museum was not running (and this little piece of information was not mentioned anywhere on their website). Also not mentioned was the fact that nothing is connected so it is not a great rainy day activity.
We also discovered that if you keep kosher there is nowhere to have lunch on a rainy day. I am not complaining about the lack of acceptable resaraunt. I can deal with that. There was not even a covered bench anywhere on the grounds dry enough to sit on. when we tried to sit on a bench in the front entrance (where kids were playing ball, screaming, etc- nowhere near any sort of exhibit which were all in other buildings) we were told that it was not allowed. We ended up giving Channah lunch standing outside in the rain.
Yum. soggy rice cake.
All that aside, I am sure the museum is wonderful in the summer. They have a lot of interesting things including a working olive oil press and flour mill. They have a planetarium (we did nto bother as the show was only in Hebrew and Channah is not ready for that yet. Maybe next time). Their actual exhibits were good. They had one on coinage that facinated my post-numismatic (old coin collector) husband. They had a whole exhibit on copper that included a reconstruction of a forge and copper ore cave. We skipped the ceramic/pottery and glass pavillions because Channah was getting tired.
My favourite was an exhibit on Folklore and tradition and Jewish life around the world. It was by far the biggest of the collections. they had pieces and costumes from around the world. The most fascinating part of the exhibit was the reconstruction of a beit kanesset from Istaly that was restored and then brought to Israel and rebuild in a structure created just for it. You could actually go right in and look around.
The Chamtzah below was about 15cm across and was clearly (to any adult) designed as a wall hanging. Channah looks at it and says "Hey look! A big keychain!" Out of the mouths of babes eh? I guess that is a heck of a good way to not lose your keys *shrug*.
Channah with a huge jar that would likely have been used to hold olive oil.
Jason and Channah with the manual olive oil press.
Channah with a massive "water fountain"
The Aron from the shul reconstruction
Stain glass windows i nthe reconstruction
view fro mthe "ezrat nashim."