The Rockefeller Museum
A gem of a Jerusalem museum

A Jerusalem museum to delight archeology enthusiasts, the Rockefeller Museum was a gift of John Rockefeller. When James Henry Breasted – who founded the famed Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago (also one of my favorite museums) – visited the Holy Land in 1925, he found an area rich in important discoveries. What he didn’t find was a place to house, display and study them.

He approached John Rockefeller, who generously donated two million dollars. Five years later, in 1930, the cornerstone was laid for this important institution. The museum opened its doors in January 1939.

Rockefeller Museum<small

Photo by RubenCoralyn courtesy of Flickr under a CC by 2.0 license


Since then, the museum has displayed the myriads of ancient artifacts that were discovered in the Holy Land, mostly during the British Mandate period (1890-1948). There are objects here from the Bronze age, 9,000-year old sculptures and some more recent finds, like several of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (The most important scrolls are on display at the Israel Museum, which operates the Rockefeller jointly with the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

The museum is just outside Herod’s Gate, at 27 Sultan Suleiman St. An easy way to get there and enjoy a guided tour is to take the shuttle bus from the Israel Museum entrance. It takes individuals (not groups) across town to the museum for a guided tour on Mondays and Wednesdays. Departure from the Israel Museum parking at 11:00, returns at 13:30.

If you prefer to visit on your own, the museum is open Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 10:00 am - 15:00; Saturdays 10:00 am - 14:00 pm. It’s located just outside the Old City’s Flower Gate, at 27 Sultan Suleiman Street.



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