[issued by the Palestinian Museum on 3 April 2013.]
The Welfare Association, celebrates on Thursday, 11 April, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Palestinian Museum in the town of Birzeit. The museum, which will open its doors in Fall 2014, will be dedicated to the exploration and understanding of the culture, history, and society of Palestine and its people and will be a space that brings together an innovative mix of exhibitions, research, and education programs, acting as an agent of empowerment and integration and a place for inspiration, dialogue, and reflection.
The concept behind the museum is a transnational institution bringing together Palestinians from all over the world. It will not be confined by borders, barriers, and geopolitics. It will be a physical and virtual space for those living in Palestine and those living abroad, enabling them to explore their shared past, present , and future. The museum will be an innovative, world-class research and cultural institution that mobilizes Palestinians and encourages them and others to ask questions about important issues while simultaneously engaging a global audience of scholars, researchers, and anyone interested in learning more about Palestinian culture and heritage.
Omar Al-Qattan, Chairman of the Museum Task Force stated: “The Palestinian Museum is created to encourage new thinking about Palestine and its people. It is a place for a continual conversation about the most important issues facing us today, which will be conducted through a variety of forms of expression. The project is about Palestinians, but it is not simply for them: we want to create a space that is inclusive, welcoming, and informative, but is also international in its reach and audience. The Birzeit Building will be a hub in a network of partnerships with local and international organizations that focuses on the present, history, and future of Palestine.”
The building will house a collection of objects and historical documents that date from the modern period to the present that will be held by the Palestinian Museum in public trust for the benefit of current and future generations. A digital archive will hold information about the museum’s collection in addition to the existing collections of other Palestinian cultural institutions. The museum is also building a cutting edge digital platform that will form a major part of its ongoing program.
The idea for a museum was first discussed in 1997, when members of the Welfare Association’s Board of Trustees recognized the need to establish a modern historical museum in Palestine dedicated to preserving and commemorating the recent Palestinian past; in particular the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948 —the watershed event of 20th century Palestinian history which led to the displacement and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians.
“A series of conceptual changes over the years have reconfigured the museum’s purpose. “When the Museum opens its doors in 2014, it will do so as an institution dedicated to celebrating, preserving, interpreting, exhibiting, and making accessible Palestinian culture, history, and art to the museum’s visitors and audiences. Our vision for the Palestinian Museum is founded upon the belief that a museum presents information, asks questions, and provides opportunities for visitors to explore and engage with different aspects of culture and history in order to reach their own informed conclusions,” said Jack Persekian, Director and Head Curator.
Designed by the Dublin-based architectural firm, Heneghan Peng, the building is a modern structure that will cover forty dunums (40,000 m2) of land adjacent to Birzeit University. Construction of the building will be done in two phases. Phase 1 will consist of a built area of 3000 m2, and will include a climate-controlled gallery space, an amphitheater, cafeteria with outdoor seating, classrooms, storage, gift shop and staff offices. During Phase 2, which will be completed within ten years, the museum will expand to 9000m2 and will include more gallery space for temporary and permanent exhibitions, an auditorium, additional classrooms, and a library.
About The Palestinian Museum
The Palestinian Museum is a flagship project of the Welfare Association, an independent not-for-profit organization providing development and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians since 1983.
For more information log on to:
The Palestinian Museum
Communications & Media manager