Situated near the President's residence and the Jerusalem Theater the L.A. Mayer Museum was opened to the public in 1974. An architectural jewel in the center of Jerusalem, it was founded by the late philanthropist Mrs. Vera Bryce Salomons, and dedicated to her friend and teacher, Prof. Leo Arie Mayer rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mayer was a noted professor and scholar of Islamic art and architecture who was dedicated to building bridges between Jews and Arabs. Today, visitors include, among others, school children from East Jerusalem and Arab towns throughout Israel. Official state guests from Arab countries also visit the Museum – an integral part of their itinerary.
The core of the museum’s collection was the result of acquisitions made by Mrs. Salomons to complement Prof. Mayer's private collection. Prof. Richard Ettinghausen, a researcher and experts in Islamic art and architecture, was entrusted with the task of assembling the Museum's exquisite collection between 1965 and 1979 from all over the world. The museum portrays the beliefs and art of the Islamic civilization in its nine galleries, staged in chronological order: the Arab conquest of the ancient world, the unification of vast territories under the banner of Islam and the invasion of these areas by different nations. Research on the art of Islamic countries focuses on architecture and ornamental objects from the 7th century AD to present times, and covers a vast geographical area – from Spain to India and eastward. Art objects displayed include chess pieces, dominos and antique playing cards, daggers, swords, helmets and other arms, textiles and carpets, jewelry, glass items, pottery and metal-ware.
One of the galleries is dedicated to the collection of watches and clocks collected by Mrs. Salomons' father, Sir David Lionel Salomons – a display of European timepieces and music boxes, mostly dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. An exquisite collection of hand carved decorated timepieces is on display, as well as automatons and a video showing the mechanics in operation. Groups may request a special presentation that includes demonstrations, upon prior arrangement.
The museum plans to refurbish its entrance hall and central gallery in 2007, and a host of family activities are being organized for the Passover/Easter holiday season. Its current changing exhibition – Court Amusements – tells the story of leisure activities and pastimes as they are reflected in all forms of Islamic art throughout the ages.
The Museum offers guided tours in three languages (Hebrew, English, Arabic, upon prior arrangement), and creative workshops on various subjects.
L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art
2, Hapalmach Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Open: Sun, Mon, Wed, & Thur.
10 am – 3 pm;
Tue 10 am – 6 pm;
Fri. Sat, holidays & holiday eves
10 am – 2 pm.
Article is courtesy of the Jerusalem Municipality Tourism Authority: http://tour.jerusalem.muni.il/