Tourist Tip #206 / Museum on the Seam

You won't find pretty Impressionist water lilies here. This contemporary art museum focuses on social, political exhibitions.

Anat Rosenberg
Anat Rosenberg
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This contemporary art museum in Jerusalem is appropriately named: It's housed in a structure that was once on the "seam" between Israel and Jordan (today it straddles the line between east and west Jerusalem), while its exhibitions focus on art in which the local and global, social and political meet.

In other words, you won't find any pretty Impressionist water lilies here. Since opening in 1999, the museum's changing exhibitions (curated by Raphie Etgar) have focused on human rights, regional conflict, man's interaction with nature, the concept of private versus public homes, protest in Israeli society and other weighty subject matter. Its latest show, "Flesh and Blood," delves into what the museum calls "the harsh relationship between mankind and other animals," and includes works by leading international and Israeli artists.

The museum's building was constructed in 1932, and even it has witnessed its fair share of conflict. It served as a military outpost between the 1948 War of Independence and the 1967 Six-Day War and still has the scars to show for it: Parts of the facade are pocked with bullet holes and the roof is home to an observation post that looks out onto breathtaking views of the city that has generated more than a little conflict over the centuries.

There is also a quaint cafe if you want to have a coffee and mull the thought-provoking art or cook up ideas for how to make the world a better place.

4 Chel Handasa St., Jerusalem; (02) 628-1278; open Sunday-Thursday 10 A.M.-5 P.M., Tuesdays until 9 P.M., Friday 10 A.M.-2 P.M..; closed Saturday

Admission: NIS 30 for adults, NIS 25 for students and seniors

The Museum on the Seam.Credit: Emil Salman
Museum on the Seam curator and artistic director Raphie Etgar.Credit: Emil Salman