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Israel Museum gets $12 million gift to renovate Fine Arts Wing; James Carpenter Design Associates to lead design team

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Israel Museum gets $12 million gift to renovate Fine Arts Wing; James Carpenter Design Associates to lead design team

August 11, 2010

Jerusalem, April 21, 2009 – The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, today announced a $12-million gift from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation for the renovation, reinstallation, and endowment of its newly renamed Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing. The gift recognizes the unique and longstanding relationship between the Museum and Mr. and Mrs. Safra, which extends back to the time of Museum founder Teddy Kollek and includes major support for such past acquisitions as Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity manuscript and for Museum operations. Lily Safra, Chairwoman of the Foundation, said, “I am delighted that the Edmond J. Safra Foundation has the opportunity to continue its support for the Israel Museum, helping this exemplary institution educate and inspire visitors for years to come.”

This newest gift bolsters the Israel Museum’s campaign for its $100-million campus enhancement project, which will upgrade and unify its terraced 20-acre campus, increase accessibility to the Museum’s collection wings, and enhance and expand its exhibition galleries and public spaces. Over $90 million for the project has been committed to date. Designed by James Carpenter Design Associates and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects, the campus project is scheduled for completion in May 2010.

Concurrent with this major capital project, the Museum has launched an ambitious endowment campaign in honor of its founder, Teddy Kollek, which will double its current endowment to a total of $150 million. Over $41.5 million of this additional $75-million goal has already been committed. Once completed, this will be the largest endowment for a cultural institution in the State of Israel.

“The Israel Museum’s capital and endowment campaigns have together created an unparalleled precedent for collective giving to a cultural initiative in Israel, and we are deeply grateful for the tremendous and widespread support for this ambitious undertaking,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “The design for our renewed campus complements the Museum’s original architectural vision, which embraces the Jerusalem landscape as an integral part of the visitor experience, and will allow our public to enjoy our encyclopedic collections in new and exciting ways.”

The $100-million campus project encompasses $80 million for the design and construction of new and renovated galleries and public facilities, including: the creation of new visitor facilities that are connected via an enclosed route of passage to a new centralized Gallery Entrance Pavilion, designed by James Carpenter Design Associates; and
the reconstruction and reinstallation of the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing, designed by Pentagram Partners, London.

The remaining $20 million is dedicated to the reconstruction, redesign, and reinstallation of the Museum’s existing collection galleries for its Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing and its Jewish Art and Life Wing, led by Efrat-Kowalsky Architects. The new campus will open in conjunction with the celebration of the Museum’s 45th anniversary in May 2010.

Campus Enhancement Project

 The Israel Museum has grown ten-fold since the 1965 opening of its original landmark campus, which was designed by Alfred Mansfeld and Dora Gad as a modernist reference to Jerusalem’s Mediterranean hilltop villages. The current capital project transforms the Museum’s terraced, 20-acre campus to create a clear and logical flow that will enhance visitor experience while maintaining the architectural essence and metaphorical intent of the Museum’s original design.
The project, which broke ground in June 2007, encompasses 80,000 square feet of new construction and 200,000 square feet of renovated and expanded gallery space within the Museum’s existing 500,000-square-foot architectural envelope.

For the first time, visitors will be welcomed to the Museum through three newly constructed, glass entry pavilions—housing ticketing, information, and restaurant, retail, and special event spaces—at the traditional northern entrance to the campus. Echoing the modernist geometry of the Museum’s original buildings, these glass pavilions are each shaded by cast terracotta louvers, designed to soften and diffuse the bright Mediterranean light while still encouraging a dialogue between interior and exterior spaces across the campus.

Beyond the entrance pavilions, visitors will either be able to ascend the Museum’s Carter Promenade or to enter the newly designed enclosed route of passage, situated directly below the promenade. Leading visitors to the heart of the Museum, the enclosed route is a highlight of James Carpenter’s design to enhance visitor experience and circulation throughout the campus. This passageway will be flanked on one side by a translucent glass wall with a water feature running along its top edge, which will also be visible from the Carter Promenade above. Visitors walking through the passageway will also have access to outdoor courtyards that extend to the adjacent Billy Rose Art Garden, designed by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.

The route of passage will bring visitors into the lowest level of the Museum’s new three-story Gallery Entrance Pavilion, providing centralized access to the Museum’s three collection wings on its main floor and also allowing visitors to reach the Crown Plaza via its top floor. Like the new entrance facilities, the Gallery Entrance Pavilion will be a glass structure, shaded by exterior terracotta louvers, which will provide a visual counterpoint to the stone-clad facades of the Museum’s original buildings that house its collections.

An important component of the overall campus project is the reconstruction and complete reinstallation of the Museum’s Bronfman Archeology Wing, designed by Pentagram Partners, London. In addition, the Museum is working with Efrat-Kowalsky Architects to upgrade and reinstall its two other collection wings and to create new narrative installations throughout all of its collection galleries.

Capital Campaign for the Renewed Campus

The campaign for the Israel Museum’s renewed campus has benefited from the generosity of individuals, families, and foundations around the world and in Israel, and represents the largest collective philanthropic effort ever undertaken by a cultural institution in the State of Israel. Of the more than $90 million raised to date, more than $70 million comes from individual and family sources worldwide and in Israel. An additional $17.5 million in matching support has been provided by the State of Israel.

The international donors who have contributed to the campus thus far with individual gifts ranging from $1 million to $10 million include: Judy and Michael Steinhardt, New York; the Estate of Dorothea Gould, Zurich; Herta and Paul Amir, Los Angeles; the Nash Family Foundation, New York; the Marc Rich Foundation, Lucerne; the Bella and Harry Wexner Philanthropies of The Legacy Heritage Fund, New York and Jerusalem; and Linda and Harry Macklowe, New York.

Donors in Israel, whose contributions total $10 million, include challenge grants from the Schusterman Foundation – Israel and Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild Foundation in Israel, and matching grants from: the Federmann Family, Tel Aviv; Debbie and Erel Margalit, Jerusalem; Dina, Michael, and Oudi Recanati, Tel Aviv; Rivka Saker and Uzi Zucker, New York and Tel Aviv; and Judith and Israel Yovel, Herzliya.

The renewal of the Bronfman Archaeology Wing, originally built in honor of Samuel Bronfman through the generosity of his children, is being supported by Charles Bronfman and his family, in memory of Saidye and Samuel Bronfman, with additional support from the Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Fund, Inc., Baltimore, and the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust, London.


Endowment Campaign

Launched in 2007 in memory of Israel Museum founder Teddy Kollek, the endowment campaign is being led by international Honorary Co-Chairs Charles Bronfman, Lord Rothschild, Lily Safra, and Michael Steinhardt.  Once completed the campaign will double the Museum’s existing institutional endowment to a total of $150 million.  To date, over $41.5 million has been committed by over 30 Museum friends, with gifts ranging from $250,000 to $5 million.

Endowment Campaign Co-Chairs include: Sylvia Hassenfeld, Ronnie Heyman, Ninah and Michael Lynne, and Judy and Burt Resnick. Campaign Vice-Chairs include:  Maureen Cogan, Barbara and Richard Lane, Stephen Lash, Samuel Lindenbaum, Marion Naggar, Geri Pollack, and Judy Steinhardt.
Campus Project Design Team

The design of the campus project is a joint initiative of the New York-based firm James Carpenter Design Associates, led by MacArthur Fellow James Carpenter, and the Israeli firm Efrat-Kowalsky Architects, who specialize in Israel’s legacy of modernist architecture.  A. Lerman Architects Ltd., Tel Aviv, are project architects.

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopedic collections ranging from prehistory through contemporary art, and includes the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world, among them the Dead Sea Scrolls. In just over 40 years, the Museum has built a far-ranging collection of nearly 500,000 objects through an unparalleled legacy of gifts and support from its circle of patrons worldwide.


Throughout the current period of construction and renovation, the Museum is continuing a full schedule of exhibitions, events, and public and educational programs on-site in the Shrine of the Book and Model of Second Temple Period Jerusalem complex, Billy Rose Art Garden, and Ruth Youth Wing. In addition, the Museum organizes and presents programming at its off-site locations in Jerusalem at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, where it presents archaeological artifacts from the Land of Israel, and at its historic Ticho House in downtown Jerusalem, a venue for exhibitions of contemporary Israeli art.


For more information please contact:

Juliet Sorce / Christina French Houghton

Resnicow Schroeder Associates, New York      

jsorce / choughton@resnicowschroeder.com

212.671.5158 / 5162

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