From Mosque to Museum: The Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures, Be’er Sheva, Israel

  • Sharon Laor-Sirak
Part of the Heritage Studies in the Muslim World book series (HSMW)


The Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures is a major part of the conservation and development project of the old city of Be’er Sheva. Housed in a late period Ottoman mosque (built 1905–1906), the museum opened in 2012. As curator, the author’s role has been to establish permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as to modify the main hall and courtyard for the displays. Conscious that most of the museum’s potential audience are non-Muslim Israelis who may have misconceptions about Islam, the curatorial approach is to offer visitors a positive, engaging and enlightening experience, exposing visitors to the richness and beauty of Islamic art and culture. Temporary exhibitions are structured to incorporate themes familiar to non-Muslims, including carpets, ceramics and calligraphy. Traditional Islamic works are presented alongside contemporary artworks, highlighting resonances between Islamic and other cultures.


Islamic art in Israel Israeli museum Cultural connections 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Laor-Sirak
    • 1
  1. 1.Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern CulturesBe’er ShevaIsrael

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