When in Jerusalem over the coming months, add the new Tower of David exhibition – London in Jerusalem – to your wishlist!
This new exhibition, which opened on May 24, 2018, is dedicated to some of the cultural highlights that were prevalent in Jerusalem during the British rule here (which lasted 30 years).
British rule in Jerusalem dramatically changed Jerusalem, and this new exhibition, London in Jerusalem: Culture on the Streets of the City 1918-1948, moves the spotlight away from a political, religious, and idealized Jerusalem. It examines the extensive cultural activity that the British, Arabs and Jews took part in and sketches a fascinating profile of cultural voices that were momentarily present in the city. Some have disappeared without leaving their mark, while others resonate in Jerusalem to this day.
The exhibition is split into 5 main parts:
Hello, hello, Jerusalem speaks! Standing next to the grand piano brought to the Tower of David from the IBA, visitors can listen to the news of the day, listen to live recordings of ensembles and bands, and radio shows.
Soirées in the Salon: A reconstructed living room that would have been found in Rehavia during the period together with original cabinets, china, radio and furniture, lets you have a feel for home life during the Mandate. Reprints of newspapers of the day are at hand, and it’s here in the evening that the living room became the location for intimate “soirées”, where whisky was drunk, music was played and dancing took place on the living room carpet! Every 15 minutes, visitors will be able to “follow the footsteps” and learn to twirl!
British Cinema: A tiny cinema, with wooden seats and velvet curtains, lets you sit and watch classic movies and newsreels of the period of the early 1930s and 1940s. In addition, a video was has been produced for the exhibition that combines historical archival footage together with contemporary animation, describing the history of cinema during the Mandate period. The original versions of feature films such as Tarzan and the Wizard of Oz will also be screened daily.
Fink’s Bar If there was one place that “held the secrets” of Jerusalem during this time period, it was Fink’s Bar. It’s here that goulash and schnitzel were served, together with dry martinis and 15 year old whiskies. This exhibition has recreated Fink’s, since it was here that British officers and locals brushed shoulders, where Jewish resistance fighters and English gentleman would share the bar. Together with the guest book, original furniture, bottles, pictures on the wall, old records and the cigar box are all on display. In addition, the King David Hotel guest book also from the Mandate period is on display, the yellow pages still showing the signatures of diplomats, politicians, world leaders, artists, movies stars and public figures.
Tea shops and café culture: The center of the exhibition includes tables and chairs that one might have found in the many tea houses that started springing up around the city such as the famous Atara Café. The “menu” on offer is one of a collection of movies, photographs and information about the cultural life of city at that time looking at music, sport and art. Visitors choose for themselves on multiple interactive screens, different locations of the city.
For more details and tickets, see the Tower of David website.
Photograph courtesy of Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Archives