The Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa was founded in 1984 on the initiative of Dr. Reuven Hecht, one of the original members of the Board of Governors of the University. Dr. Hecht, who had become interested in Israeli archaeology when he was a boy, worked hard for sixty years to create a collection of archaeological objects representing the material culture of Israel in ancient times.
Hecht Museum in Haifa
He was especially interested in findings which represented periods which were significant in the history of the Jewish nation, that is, from the Canaanite period to the end of the Byzantine era. Dr. Hecht, who was well known for his Zionist activity, believed that archaeology was one of the important expressions of Zionism and that the early findings were proof of the link between the Jewish nation and the land of Israel.
Hecht Museum in Haifa
Some of the exhibits in the Hecht collection are in chronological order, beginning from the Chalcolithic Period up to the end of the Byzantine period, and others are exhibited according to their subjects, which include coins, seals, weights, jewelry, toys, oil lamps and the seven plant species which are endemic to Israel.
Two exhibits are particularly worthy of attention: The first is the collection of Jewish coins and the second is the collection of stamps from the biblical period, which is one of the largest and most important collections of this type.
Dr. Hecht died in April 1993. After his death, his initiative was continued and the museum was enlarged. In October 1998 a new wing of the museum was established. The permanent collections in this wing are arranged according to subject and are based on both findings from the Hecht collection and items which have been borrowed from the Department of Antiquities. Among these are findings which were discovered in digs conducted by Haifa University: One exhibit focuses on the contribution of the Phoenicians, the “sea people” from the biblical period, to the architecture on the northern coast of the country. A second exhibit focuses on early occupations and industries: metalwork, wood, stone, glassmaking, writing occupations and medical professions. The third exhibit displays an ancient ship, 2400 years old, its anchor and its contents, which were discovered off the coast of Israel near the Taninim River.
The art branch of the museum, which was established in 1989, presents a permanent exhibition of works from the Hecht family art collection. The collection represents the important streams in art beginning from the mid-nineteenth century, with emphasis on the Impressionists and on works by Jewish artists from the School of Paris. There are works by Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Soutine and Modigliani, among others. Like the archaeological collection, Dr. Hecht viewed his art collection as a connection to the Zionist idea. In his opinion, the two movements, Zionism and Impressionism, represented the end of a period and the beginning of a period, and both were rooted in tradition and in the past, but both led towards the future.
Sun., Mon.,Wed., Thu. :10:00 – 16:00,Tue.:10:00 – 19:00, Fri.:10:00 – 13:00, Sat.:10:00 – 14:00.
Location:University of Haifa, Mount Carmel.
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