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'A timeless treasure chest': Kimmel Eshkolot's Steinhardt Museum of Natural History ready to open in Tel Aviv

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A museum designed as a ”timeless treasure chest” showcasing Israel’s natural history is ready to open on the Tel Aviv University Campus.

Architecture firm Kimmel Eshkolot have designed the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, whose collections include five and a half million animals and plants telling the story of biodiversity in Israel and the Middle East during the past century.

The building’s block-like form, attached to a large wooden-panelled shell housing the collection, seemingly ‘hovers’ above the ground and has been planned to stimulate curiosity and invite the public to discover what is inside.

The visitor experience begins in a large entrance plaza overlooking botanical gardens and shaded terraces. Guests are led via gently sloping ramps between the different types of exhibits, with the backdrop shifting from light to darkness, from open to enclosed spaces, and from small exhibits to diorama-type exhibits. The route eventually leads to a roof terrace that overlooks the botanical and zoological gardens.

A separate entrance is provided for university staff, who have their own facilities in the building for academic research and the restoration of artefacts. The public and private functions occasionally meet in a series of orchestrated vistas, “which enrich the experience of the visitor and reveal the behind-the-scenes work of the scientists.”

In a design statement, Kimmel Eshkolot said: “The concept of the building presents a challenging opportunity to reveal to the public the existence of ‘natural wonders’ currently hidden in the basements of the university, like an Ark of Noah preserving samples from nature to serve future generations.”

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A museum designed as a ”timeless treasure chest” showcasing Israel’s natural history is ready to open on the Tel Aviv University Campus.
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