November 8, 2012
We are thrilled and honored to tell you that the Dan David Foundation agreed to support the establishment of the Dan David Archaeology Building in the Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel currently under construction on Museum Hill in the center of Jerusalem. The future Dan David Archaeology Building, made possible by an extraordinary gift from the Dan David Foundation, will be home to the largest collection in the world of archaeological objects from the Land of Israel, representing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the country and illuminating the history of the people that inhabited the land over the past 5,000 years.
The building will be named for Dan David, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who passed away last year and whose passion for archaeology and the history of the Jewish people made him a staunch and passionate supporter of research in these fields and of the preservation of Israel's heritage.
The Dan David Archaeology Building will be the main venue of the Israel Antiquities Authority for the collection, conservation, exhibition and education of the archaeology of the Land of Israel and the fascinating archaeological work conducted in the laboratories. In addition to housing nearly two million archaeological objects in the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for National Treasures, and the largest collection of Dead Sea Scrolls in the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Center for Dead Sea Scrolls , the Dan David Archaeology Building will be home to Israel's main archaeological library, viewable conservation and restoration centers, exhibition galleries and a roof top exhibition garden, an open courtyard with a rain-water pool, an archaeological education center and more. The ca. 200,000 sq. feet building will occupy the eastern building of the Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, an archaeological research, exhibition and education complex designed by Architect Moshe Safdie. Overlooking the Hebrew University Campus and adjacent to the Bible Lands Museum and the Israel Museum, the National Campus and the Archaeology Building are bound to become a Jerusalem landmark and a must-see stop for hundreds of thousands of visitors including school groups, tourists, archaeologists and the general public.
The design concept is premised on making the building a metaphor for archaeological excavations. All indoor space is located below street level so that the view across the valley is unencumbered, even as one enters the building. The building palette is a counterpoint of earthly, hand-dressed stone set against glass and silver metal walls - all under a floating canopy reminiscent of the tent-like canopies used to shade archaeological excavations.
Work on the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel is underway, and we expect the Campus, supported to date by 25 generous friends and by the Israeli government, to open to the public in 2015. The Dan David Archaeology Building and the Schottenstein National Campus present an unparalleled opportunity to educate the public about the significance of the remarkable archaeological heritage of the Land of Israel by exhibiting the priceless objects and showcasing the archaeological work, and promise to enhance conservation and preservation of the priceless collections.
One of the unique and fascinating features of the Dan David Archaeology Building will be the rare opportunity for the public to view the unique collections in the housing facility, and have direct guided access to Israel's National Treasures. This remarkable feature is an important and dramatic example of the IAA's mission to provide increasingly enhanced accessibility to its vast collections.