The Tower of David museum in Jerusalem is reopening after a three-year closure for renovations.
The oldest parts of the Tower of David are over two thousand years old, and have been built over again and again as the ancient fortification’s use and needs evolved and changed. Watching over the western edge of the Old City, it lies adjacent to the Jaffa Gate, through which have come millions of pilgrims, conquerors, and tourists. Now, it’s almost in the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (remaining under Isreali control after being illegally annexed in 1967).
Today, the preserved castle is a museum to the 3,000-year history of Jerusalem.
During the 2020 pandemic, when Israel was closed to foreign tourists, the museum closed for a massive renovation. It included modernization of its electrical grid and plumbing, archaeological excavations in parts of the building that have gone long-untouched, and new exhibits among other things. A new entrance pavilion directs all flow through the Jaffa Gate through parts of the museum, making it a gateway to the Old City.
According to museum director Eilat Lieber, the museum had been advanced to modern standards, while classic and beloved attractions have been restored and preserved. It focuses on the theme of the city’s long history, rather than settling on any detailed examination of a period or regime.
According to Lieber, it’s intended to be inclusive of the three major faiths of Israel, but that seems to begin and end with brief exhibits on each and an audio-visual presentation of the annual cycle of major Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays.
It glides over the national identity of Palestine, which controlled the land upon which it sits until 1968, and never mentions the violence of the Israeli-Palestine conflict which is happening only yards outside the museum.
Lieber said the museum consulted with top academic experts and religious leaders from all faiths during the renovation, but also noted it is still an Israeli public institution and acknowledged that history is “not objective.”