Director General's Message

As 2020 comes to an end, a year laden with challenges, we thank you for accompanying us over the past months and share some of our accomplishments with you. We hope you enjoyed the year’s programming, designed to be both a source of knowledge and recreation. 
We strove to meet the year’s unexpected challenges while completing all of our scheduled projects. I am proud that we kept your trust throughout the year, thanks to my colleagues’ tireless efforts during and after the lockdown, affirming that #PalestinePerseveres.

Wishing you a happy, healthy new year,
Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, PhD
Director General of the Palestinian Museum

Highlights of Our 2020 Journey   
The global pandemic has imposed constraints on cultural work, and the Palestinian Museum, like others worldwide, had to close its doors to the public for several months, and to halt its in-person events and activities. Nevertheless, the circumstance inspired us to adapt and develop our tools to meet the challenge and reach a wider audience.

Printed in Jerusalem: Mustamloun
Amid a complete lockdown, we worked to launch our exhibition, Printed in Jerusalem: Mustamloun, digitally in July, prior to reopening to the public. The exhibition, organised in cooperation with Jerusalem’s Palestinian Heritage Museum at Dar-Al-Tifel Al-Arabi, and which explores the history of Jerusalem’s modernity and politics through its publications, runs until the end of February 2021.

Colour and Words Reveal the World: an interactive family space
We launched the Museum’s first educational and recreational family space, which provides an interactive area that engages visitors of all ages in a variety of creative and educational activities. It aims to encourage children and families to create their own contributions, inspired by the exhibition and their museum experience.

We took this step, well aware of the difficult circumstances that children endured amid the school closures, their long absence from in-person activities, and a lack of safe and fun educational spaces. We therefore implemented comprehensive health and safety measures in preparation for receiving children and their families.

Photo: Children with their dolls at the Evangelical Home for Girls on Christmas in Ramallah, 1954-1956. Anglican Girls' Home collection, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive. 
The Digital Archive: end of phase one
The Digital archive team concluded phase one of assembling the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive, the largest of its kind in Palestine and the Arab world. The Archive thus far comprises over 200,000 documents that relate to the daily life of Palestinians and to their history. We are eager to move forward with phase two of the project with deeper insights and strong purpose.

To visit the beta version of the Digital Archive website, click here.
This project is funded by Arcadia Fund.

A Virtual Venue for Diverse Events
The Palestinian Museum launched a rich online programme to accompany Printed in Jerusalem: Mustamloun and other projects throughout the year. This included symposia, discussions, conferences, workshops, performances, virtual exhibition tours and Object-in-Focus talks. Through this virtual venue, the Museum connected with new audiences across Palestine and around the world.

If you missed any of these events, you can find most of them on our YouTube channel.

Research Grants and Annual Conference
In fulfilment of its new strategic plan, the Museum announced the launch of 17 grants for research about Palestinian culture, aimed at encouraging intellectual societal engagement and at filling knowledge gaps in Palestine’s history and culture. This is the largest research grant initiative ever offered to foster scholarship on Palestinian culture. We look forward to sharing the research outcomes with you at the end of the coming year.

The Museum’s second annual conference was held according to schedule. Organised by the Museum’s Knowledge and Research Programmes Department as the year’s concluding event to accompany the Printed in Jerusalem: Mustamloun exhibition, the conference examined the centrality of Jerusalem in Palestinian political, cultural, and social imaginaries.

Watch the conference proceedings here.

Online Performances
Circumstances this year required that we experience live performances virtually, and likewise, artists were spurred to adapt their approaches to interacting with audiences. One prominent example of this was Saheb al-Karmil (Owner of al-Karmil), a play that was readapted to be performed and filmed with the Printed in Jerusalem exhibition as its set and stage. The video was enjoyed by audiences around world.
Watch the theatrical performance here.

Soprano Mariam Tamari and pianist Fadi Deeb, two prominent classical musicians of Palestinian origin, presented a performance titled “al-Quds Arabiya: Musical Images of Palestine” online for Palestinian Museum audiences worldwide.

Children also had a share in these performances. They enjoyed a fun tour of Printed in Jerusalem with musicians and storytellers Mira Abu Hilal and Jalal Nader. Watch the tour here.

Conservation Lab: over 1600 documents conserved

The Museum complete the second phase of its Conservation for Digitisation project, having conserved 1696 documents between June and the end of 2020.
Among the most notable collections that were conserved are the Arab Development Society collection, which includes hundreds of documents that date back to the 1930s and 40s; and a collection of artist Fatema Muhib’s original works, among others.
In parallel, a series of in-person and online activities were organised as part of the Public Engagement and Education programmes. These included training events and workshops on the fundamentals of conservation, in addition to the publication of an archive conservation guide. An educational video for children about simple steps for document conservation was also produced.

Browse the archive conservation guide here.

New Publications 
Over the course of the year, the Palestinian Museum completed work on several publications in Arabic and English, including: the Printed in Jerusalem: Mustamloun exhibition catalogue; the Museum gardens catalogue, A Garden among the Hills: the Floral Heritage of Palestine; a collection of stories for children, the first of its kind to be published by the Museum, titled honak honak ba’idan fil-lawn (Way Out there in the Faraway Colour), written by PM staff Hana Irshaid and Sarah Zahran, and by Samar Kirresh; the Arabic edition of its Jerusalem Lives exhibition catalogue; and two volumes of essays selected from the Hawliat al-Quds and Jerusalem Quarterly Journals, titled Hayawat Maqdisiya and Jerusalem Lives, and produced in partnership with the Institute for Palestine Studies.

Look forward to more details on these publications soon.

“Let’s Bring Our Thobes Back Home” Campaign
Despite tough economic times amid the pandemic, we were heartened by the generous spirit shown by the public worldwide in the interest of preserving Palestinian heritage. The Museum’s first crowdfunding campaign, “Let’s Bring Our Thobes Back Home”, was launched to bring a collection of Palestinian embroidered thobes and their accessories back home from the US. We are happy to announce that we have reached our crowdfunding goal, and with that, the thobes will soon be on their way home! We are grateful for the generous support of Bank of Palestine, the campaign’s platinum sponsor, with a donation of $ 15,000.

We are sincerely grateful for the kind generosity of everyone who contributed to this campaign.  

“Museum from Home: Palestine perseveres” Campaign
The Museum launched the “Museum from Home: Palestine perseveres” campaign following the announcement of a complete lockdown in Palestine. Over the span of several months, the Museum provided interactive digital content about Palestinian history and culture to the public, and a virtual space for recreation and learning, in an effort to help families cope with the stresses of the crisis.

Here are some videos that were produced as part of the campaign

Virtual Tours
Building on its established practice of presenting its exhibitions virtually to a wider audience, this year the Museum also produced guided curators’ video tours, beginning with Glimmer of a Grove Beyond: visual journeys through the Palestinian landscape, a curated show launched in February. The tour was made available in sign language on World Museum Day. A series of guided curators’ video tours of Printed in Jerusalem: Mustamloun were also produced.

If you are unable to visit the Museum in person, you can visit our exhibitions here.

Solar Panels Installation
In keeping with its role as a green and eco-friendly building, the Museum completed the Installation of its solar panels, a goal that was set upon the building’s inauguration. The panels will be connected to the electricity grid, and once operational, will be capable of generating 320 Kilowatts at peak performance, thus covering the Museum’s yearly energy needs.