This article surveys the circumstances in which kibbutzim built museums between the 1930s and the 1960s. It focuses on the two largest kibbutz movements and their divergent attitudes to the founding of museums, to art, and to the role of artists in society. In particular, this paper examines the case history of the first art museum to be built in a kibbutz—at Ein Harod, the birthplace of the largest kibbutz movement, the Kibbutz Meuhad. This movement envisioned and promoted a “city/village” form of habitat where agriculture and industry, manual and intellectual labor could co-exist. The article’s analysis of the social construction of space shows how the dynamic network of diachronic and synchronic contexts structures the potential meaning of a particular museum, its status and eventually, its fate.
Yehudit Kol-InbarThe History of the Museums in Eretz-Israel Before the Establishment of the State as an Expression of the Zionist Vision (MA thesis, Jerusalem: The Hebrew University1992) 167. (in Hebrew).
Nachman Syrkin“Our Mission: An Address at an Assembly of the Workers in Jaffa,”Quntras19 (1920): 179(in Hebrew). At this time Syrkin was head of a World Poalei-Tzion delegation that consolidated a plan in Eretz-Israel for the cooperative settling of a million and a half Jews on a scientific and ethical basis. Yitzhak Tabenkin who was one of the authors of the idea of the “large group” took an active part in the delegation’s discussions as a representative of the Achdut Ha’avodah (“Unity of Labor”) party.
Galia Bar Or“Collections and Museums in Israel” in Israeli Art from the Collection of Gaby and Ami Brown (Ein Harod: Mishkan Museum of Art2009) 314–322; Galia Bar Or “Art in Wartime” in Citizens at War ed. Mordechai Bar-On and Meir Chazan (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University and Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi 2010) 205–230.