The Hebrew Music Museum opened in 2016 and is a fascinating addition to the Jerusalem museum scene. Visitors are given headphones and a tablet which is used to scan pictures that allow them to explore the history and sounds of original and restored musical instruments used by Jews around the world. There are rooms representing musical traditions from Central Asia, Morocco, Andalusia, Iraq, Egypt, Ashkenazi-European, Balkan, African-Jewish and Yemeni. By pointing the tablet at a picture on the wall of a rabbi, it is possible to get a brief history of each region. Pointing at the same picture next to cases of instruments allows you to read a brief description of the instrument and to hear how it sounds. There are everything from primitive drums and instruments made with armadillo shells to a modern electric violin. You can take your time moving around and, if you have the patience, learn about a lot of interesting instruments.
One particularly fascinating room has a model of the Jewish Temple that stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE. Virtual reality goggles allow you to walk into the Temple and see the actions of the priests, look around the Temple and enter the tabernacle. It’s not entirely clear why this is part of the exhibit, except perhaps because there is a group of priests playing instruments at one point in the presentation.
The museum is new so there are some kinks to work out. Some of the people were confused about how the tablets worked and had trouble scanning the pictures required to start presentations. They’re also a bit awkward hanging over your neck. Visitors seem to have the option of going without the tablet and headphones and are still able to take in most of the museum. There were a couple of games people could play against each other but no instructions. It is a relatively small space, and the process of outfitting visitors with the tablets and explaining their use takes some time, so I’m not sure how comfortable the museum will be if large tour groups ever visit the museum.
There is no need for reservations; however, given the size of the museum that may become a requirement in the future.
Yoel Moshe Salomon Street, 10, Nahalat Shiva Jerusalem.
Current ticket prices:
Children 5-17: 40 NIS
Students: 35 NIS
Soldiers: 30 NIS
Adults: 50 NIS
Seniors: 40 NIS
The English website has some glitches, but you can find general information. http://hebrewmusicmuseum.com/lang/en