(photo from Tower of David Museum)
The Tower of David Museum has started one of the largest conservation projects in Israel, with work underway for a $40 million renewal plan led by the Clore Israel Foundation together with the support of the City of Jerusalem, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, and the Israel Ministry of Tourism. The Israel Antiquities Authority is supervising the archeological excavations and conservation of the project, which will double the current area of the museum to 20,000 square metres (more than 215,000 square feet). There will be a new sunken-entrance visitor centre, café, additional public bathrooms, as well as seven new galleries, additional exhibition spaces and two elevators, making the ancient citadel accessible to all. An educational complex of offices, classrooms and an auditorium will be constructed and a promenade added, which will be lined with archeological findings from the site.
Throughout the next two years, the museum will remain open (within the guidelines of the Ministry of Health), with temporary exhibitions, guided tours and cultural activities. A capital campaign has been initiated to complete the renewal project. At the same time, the museum continues to raise working capital to ensure that, even during the project and through the pandemic, the story of Jerusalem continues to be told. Last year, more than 500,000 people visited the museum, generating income for 80% of its budget, but the pandemic shutdown cut its income to zero, forcing the furlough of 85% of the working staff. Despite this, a small team is still creating live and virtual programming. In addition to fundraising, the museum has petitioned the government of Israel, including the Ministry of Culture, for support.