Israel Museum to Launch New Arts Education Program for Jerusalem Schoolchildren

 Jerusalem, Israel,December 15, 2010 – The Israel Museum, Jerusalem has developed a new, innovative arts program for first grade students in Jerusalem that will be launched at the start of 2011. The comprehensive program, which introduces students to the Museum’s diverse collections in Archaeology, the Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life, is intended for schoolchildren of various socio-cultural backgrounds including Jewish, Arab, orthodox, secular, religious and special needs. It has been designed to develop students’ creativity, critical thinking skills and powers of observation, with learning taking place through guided tours at the Museum and follow-up sessions back in the classroom.

“We believe that through proper, mediated learning experiences, we can bring the Museum closer to the local community and together teach the language of art in a positive and friendly way” said Tali Gavish, Head of the Ruth Youth Wing, which has developed this unique project.  “Our hope is that this program will enrich the cultural world of these children and give them the skills to be art and Museum lovers in the future”.

Students will discover the Museum’s wealth of cultural treasures by participating in an experiential guided tour of the galleries based on the Guinness Book of Records. The tour will answer questions such as: What is the oldest object in the Museum?  What is the largest object? What is the heaviest? What is the funniest? What is the Scariest? With the help of a Museum guide and a specially designed workbook, children will learn how to curate an exhibition, how to decide what objects to display, and the what is the balance between objective knowledge and subjective taste. At the end of the visit, children receive a catalogue that they have created and are given activity pages to continue back at school.

The innovative program is a joint initiative of the Israel Museum and the Education Department of the Jerusalem Municipality. It will run for three years and has been made possible by a generous grant from the Russell Berrie Foundation in the United States.  8,000 students are expected to participate in 2011, with a further 22,000 participating in the following two years.