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Israel Museum Welcomes Over 138,000 Visitors in Opening Month

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem announced that since reopening on July 26, it welcomed more than 138,000 visitors to its renewed campus, in the first month. The transformed Museum features new galleries, orientation facilities, and public spaces, as well as the complete reinstallation of its three collection wings.

The current visitor numbers are significantly higher than those counted during the three-year expansion and renewal project, and they nearly triple the attendance figures prior to the development. The numbers bode well for the renewed Museum’s opening year.

Daily attendance averages about 4,500 visitors, many of whom are drawn to the reconfigured collection wings in archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life. Also popular are a series of temporary exhibitions highlighting both new acquisitions and long-held masterpieces from the Museum’s collections, while two new monumental, site-specific installations – Olafur Eliasson’s Whenever the rainbow appears (2010) and Anish Kapoor’s Turning The World Upside Down, Jerusalem (2010) – are proving to be major draws for visitors.

A full program of guided tours, family activities, and public events marking the opening, including concerts by prominent Israeli musicians, activities in the Youth Wing, and a late-night art and music festival entitled Contact Point, have attracted very large audiences. The latter event drew 7,000 people to the Museum, while the 25th annual Kite-Flying Festival on August 17 brought in 8,000 visitors.

Over the course of the month, the Museum has seen a range of both domestic and foreign tourists, attesting to the widespread media attention given to the Museum reopening. The unprecedented media coverage, both local and international, has included articles in the New York Times, the Financial Times, Le Monde, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and the International Herald Tribune, as well as television features on CNN, BBC and CBN. Wire coverage was also extensive and includes articles by AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP, EFE and ANSA, among others. Coverage has spread from Israel to places as far afield as Australia, Brazil, China, and India, as well as the United States and Europe.

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