Guide to Art Museums in the Galilee

When people think of the Galilee they think of rolling green hills, agricultural villages, the Kinneret and less of art museums. Emek Yizrael (the Jezreel Valley) is one of the cradles of the Zionist settlement of the early 20th century. Inhabited with all kind of settlements forms, Kibbutz and Moshav, and younger towns the region is characterized by the agricultural roots and economy. Yet you may find cultural surprises and secret treasures in many of these small communities in the Galilee. Here are four of my favorite art museums in the Galilee.

Kibbutz Ein Harod

Kibbutz Ein Harod hosts one of the major Israeli art institutions in the country, “Museum of Art, Ein Harod“,  was built in the 1930’s in a small wooden hut is now hosted in a beautiful avant-guard architecture building designed by a member of the Kibbutz and inaugurated in 1948. The museum today owns over 16,000 works of Jewish and Israeli art. See Ein Harod Museum

Getting to Ein Harod

Ein Harod is located on route 71 between Afula to Beit Shean

The Wilfred Israel Museum

The Wilfred Israel Museum is a smaller and surprising museum dedicated to the art of the far east, and is located on Kibbutz Hazorea.  The museum named after Wilfrid Israel, and was inaugurated in 1951 based on the art collection and donations of Wilfrid Israel, who was in close connections with the first group of settlers of the Kibbutz. The Wilfred Israel Museum website is only in Hebrew, consult an Israeli friend for time table and up to date exhibitions schedule.

Getting to the Wilfred Israel Museum

Kibbutz HaZorea is located near the ancient site of Megido on road 65

Tikotin Museum for Japanese Art

Not far away, inside the city of Haifa you can find another small yet impressive Far East art museum – the Tikotin Museum for Japanese Art — the first and so far the only museum of its kind in the entire Middle East. The Tikotin Museum is quite small and doesn’t take all that long to browse but some of the exhibits are very compelling. The upper floor has a pleasant cafe selling homemade cakes.

The Tikotin Museum is located (at 89 Hanassi Avenue Haifa) near Haifa’s most beautiful view point of the bay and harbor and near the small but very attractive Haifa Zoo.  See Tikotin Museum website.

Getting to Tikotin Museum for Japanese Art

If you are in Haifa city proper, then you can take Carmelit, an underground funicular railway in Haifa. Stop at Gan Haem station and walk from there.

Shulman’s Chocolate Museum

To make your Galilee museum tour a bit sweeter, your next trip will be at Shulman’s Chocolate Museum (also called Shulman Chocolate Museum). It’s a small, pretty unassuming building when you look at it from the outside but it has surprisingly several spaces once you get inside. The museum section itself tells about — what else — cocoa and chocolates, telling about them and about the different chocolate brands. It also screens a ten-minute informative movie about cocoa. Aside from being as a museum, it also functions as a store, cafeteria, chocolate factory and workshop facility where guests try their hand in creating handmade chocolate goodies. This museum should appeal especially to families and younger kids — and of course, chocolate lovers of all ages!

Getting to Shulman’s Chocolate Museum

It’s on Kibbutz Dafna, Upper Galilee.

Tefen Museum

The Tefen Museum complex is located further to the north in the Galilee and closer to the Lebanese border. The Tefen Industrial Parks and Open Museums are located inside the  Tefen  industrial area. Tefen  was built and is owned by the Wertheimer family, one of the leading Israeli industrial tycoons. The compound hosts the center for the German-Speaking Jewry Museum, Tefen Open Art Museum and an impressive car exhibition owned by the family. It is also a very interesting and revolutionary place in the history of Israeli engineering, technology and industry and has become the flagship of several other industrial parks.

Getting to Tefen

Tefen is on Road 854, between Carmiel and Ma’alot