Palestine celebrates art, culture and history with new museum

The Arab state will soon see the opening of its own cultural space, The Palestinian Museum. Located in Birzeit in the West Bank, the museum is set to open May 18, just a few days after the 68th anniversary of the “Nakba,” the Palestinian exodus preceding the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The building, located 23 kilometres from Jerusalem, is the fruit of a project that’s been under development since 1998. Omar Al-Qattan, head of the Palestinian Museum Task Force, stated back in January that “our ambition is to create an institution with an international status, capable of presenting Palestinian history and culture in a manner worthy of the heroism, creativity, sacrifices and steadfastness of the Palestinian people. The museum also aims to act as an ambassador for Palestinian culture, allowing Palestinians to better communicate with the world and with each other.”

One of this institution’s other objectives is to reach out to audiences outside of Palestine, particularly to those Palestinians who are unable to return home to visit the site’s main building. As a result, the museum’s first major exhibition will be held in Beirut, Lebanon, with “At the Seams — A Political History of Palestinian Embroidery” opening May 25 at the Dar El-Nimer cultural space. The exhibition — overseen by British curator, Rachel Dedman — will offer a new critical perspective of one of the most popular forms of modern Palestinian expression.

The museum will also launch a virtual platform in June. “Palestinian Journeys - An Interactive Timeline From 1850 to the Modern Day” will explore Palestinian history through political, cultural and social events.

The Palestinian Museum is a project conceived and developed by the Palestinian NGO, Taawon.

The building is designed by Heneghan Peng architects, based in Dublin, Ireland, and is home to 3,500 square meters of exhibition and educational spaces. It’s also the first green building in Palestine to win LEED certification for its resource-efficient design. The building has a 40,000 sq m garden designed by landscape architect, Lara Zureikat.



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