Palestinian Museum to open in May

Inaugural show will focus on the objects that individual Palestinians would never part with


The Palestinian Museum, a new institution dedicated to the history and culture of Palestine over the past two centuries, is scheduled to open on 18 May. The launch exhibition programme at the museum, based in Birzeit, north of Jerusalem, includes an extensive outreach project involving Palestinians at home and abroad.

The inaugural show, Never Part, will open on 7 October. “Based on more than three years of research, the exhibition’s starting point is a series of personal interviews with Palestinians, at home and in the diaspora, about objects with which they would never part,” the organisers say. “It thus offers various readings of contemporary, collective history through individual perspectives.” The exhibition, which will also include commissioned works, is due to run until March 2017.

The museum will launch a virtual platform in June with an interactive timeline project covering major political, cultural and social events in modern Palestinian history.

The institution is still without a director after Jack Persekian stepped down in December because of “differences over planning and management issues”, said Omar Al-Qattan, the chairman of the AM Qattan Foundation, one of the main museum funders, which is based in Palestine and London. Al-Qattan has taken on the role of interim director until a replacement is found.

The museum is a flagship project of Taawon, which was previously known as the Welfare Association. Taawon is a non-profit organisation registered in Switzerland that “is committed to providing development and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians”.

The association has raised the capital and operational costs for the new museum. The foundation stones were laid in early 2013 for the $30m building, which is designed by the Dublin-based architectural firm Heneghan Peng.