The exhibitions at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History include thousands of items, some of them quite rare, from the National Natural History Collections collected over decades at Tel Aviv University. Visitors to the exhibitions embark upon a quest for intimacy with nature, wherein each exhibition offers exceptional observations and experiences of life and nature around us.
What will we find at the Museum?
At the entrance to the Museum, visitors are greeted by the birds that fly over Israel as they migrate back and forth between Africa and Asia, in The Great Bird Migration exhibition.
In Bugs and Beyond, which includes live creatures, visitors enjoy a close encounter with the rich and incredibly sophisticated world of arthropods – the largest and most diverse phylum in nature. Life in the Dark offers a glance at animals from Israel and around the world that live without daylight, and Urban Nature reveals the city life of wild animals.
Israel’s Landscapes surveys the impressive range of habitats in Israel, from the desert to Mount Hermon, and their typical fauna – in six landscape pictures that combine typical scenery with stuffed and mounted animals from the collection.
In Form and Function visitors are invited to gaze directly at a spectacular diversity of creatures from Israel and around the globe, and learn how their body structures and capabilities are adapted to their various environments and living conditions.
The Human Impact provides a comprehensive view of our environment: the creatures that have become extinct, the impact of humans on nature, and the many changes that have taken place in nature in recent decades.
The Web of Life employs the acacia tree to outline the tremendous diversity of life that depends on it. The visitor journeys through a range of inter-relations and mutual impacts between different organisms, including us, humans. This is followed by a display of the complex network of connections that makes existence possible, underlying nature in its entirety.
The Treasure Chest and its Treasures of Biodiversity exhibition invite the visitor to wander among the Museum’s rich and diverse natural history collections, and become familiar with riveting stories of scientific research.
The exhibition Global Warning: The Climate, the Crisis and Us illustrates the complex reality and processes that cause it, alongside predictions for the future, in a hands-on way that arouses the visitors’ curiosity, and raises questions and opportunities for changing personal habits. The latest scientific findings in the field and the effect of the crisis on us and on nature, in Israel, and around the world, are displayed in the exhibition using interactive media. The exhibition is on display in the multipurpose gallery on Level 3 and throughout the museum.
The installation RUN, by the artist, Ronit Keret, on display next to the Treasures of Biodiversity exhibition on Level Two of the Museum, is an extension of the exhibition, Global Warning: The Climate, the Crisis and Us. Through her work, the artist and researcher seeks to cry out on behalf of the animals and invites us humans to wake up to the distressing reality and take responsibility for the environment before it’s too late.
What Makes Us Human? focuses on us, humans, and surveys the biological and cultural evolution of the human species via rare findings from archaeological excavations, integrated with innovative multimedia displays.
The installation “Passage” strives to raise awareness of issues related to interactions between humans and nature, such as climate change, natural resource exploitation, and the disrupted cycles of the seasons. Rotem Reshef is a painter and installation artist who has shown her works in many solo and group exhibitions in Israel and around the world. Her artistic practice focuses on the human and natural ecosystems, the fragility of life, and the opportunity for a second chance.
Former temporary exhibitions:
Blisters, a caricatures exhibition at the museum’s entrance. The exhibition offers an amusing perspective on the animal world as seen by the creators, Amos Ellenbogen and Nir Molad (AKA Nirmo).
Microsculpture, A unique exhibition on loan from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Presents insects as they have never been seen before; 3-square-meter photographs allow easy study of the beauty of insects from a new perspective. The insects are displayed in all their glory; visitors can see the tiniest details with great clarity and uniquely experience the beauty of the world of nature.
Zoom 2019 – Young Israeli Artists exhibition: the second temporary exhibition in the Steinhardt Museum was spread over the four first levels. The works of art were placed so as to create a dialog with the Museum’s permanent displays, taking into account the points of contact between the different artists’ works. Some artists displayed their final projects while others chose to develop new works especially for the exhibition, often inspired by the Museum content, structure and visitors. The exhibition closed on October 21, 2019.
The first exhibition on display in the Museum’s multipurpose Gallery was Life Object, which represented Israel at the 2016 International Venice Architecture Biennale. This exhibition forms a “breathing space” affected by the presence of visitors within it. Its main exhibit implements thought about architecture, through the biological metaphor of the concept of life, while blurring the boundaries between the natural and the artificial. The exhibition is based on the development of architectural applications founded upon the close affinity between a building and its environment.
Permanent exhibitions team
Management of permanent exhibition construction: “Weil – Managing Creativity”, Gev Weil and Eli Gdulin
Chief curator and experience designer: Hadas Zemer Ben-Ari
Bugs & Beyond: Dr. Moshe Guershon
Life in the Dark: Dr. Moshe Guershon
Israel’s Landscapes: Dr. Roi Dor
The Great Bird Migration: Dr. Roi Dor
Urban Nature: Dr. Naama Berg
Form & Function: Dr. Tamar Feldstein
Marine Animals: Dr. Tamar Feldstein
The Human Impact: Dr. Naama Berg
Treasures of Biodiversity: Dr. Naama Berg
What Makes Us Human?: Prof. Israel Hershkovitz and Dr. Hila May
Taxidermy and preparation of display items for the exhibitions: Igor Gavrilov, Dr. Stanislav Volynchik
Breeding and preparation of insects for the exhibition “Bugs & Beyond”: Alex Shlagman, Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Morgulis
Scientific consultants to exhibitions: Dr. Menachem Goren, Prof. Shai Meiri, Dr. Neta Dorchin
Special thanks: Helena Hamu, Hagai Segev, Tzachi Beker and Martin Weyl, who contributed their time and rich professional expertise to the construction of the exhibitions.