The Hebrew University in Jerusalem will soon construct a $5 million museum and visitor’s center devoted to Albert Einstein, the Nobel Prize-winning genius and the father of the theory of relativity. The museum will be created in the university’s former planetarium building at the Edmond J. Safra Campus and will exhibit the personal archives of the renowned physicist, according to Israel21c.
Albert Einstein was one of the founding members of the Hebrew University. He first visited Jerusalem in 1923 to deliver a scientific lecture at the Mount Scopus campus. Einstein remained an active member of the Board of Governors of the University until his death in 1955. After his death, all of his personal archives, including scientific manuscripts, diplomas, books, medals, correspondence, and even vinyl records collection, were donated to the Hebrew University, as per the will of the physicist. Today, Einstein Archives, consisting of approximately 55,000 items, is housed at the Safra Campus in Givat Ram quarter of the university.
The idea of constructing a museum dedicated to Einstein was under discussion for the past several years. However, the university could not make a final decision due to the budgetary constraints. In May 2012, the prime minister’s cabinet proposed to build a museum shaped like Einstein’s head. Finally, the Hebrew University CEO Billy Shapira, after considering the lower construction cost of $5 million, announced the plan to create the Einstein Museum within the existing building of the former planetarium.
The university organized a competition asking participants to send design proposals for the new museum. Finally, the design of architecture firm Arad Simon was selected. This design proposed to dig beneath the existing 500 square meters rectangular space of the old building to create extra space for the museum.
The existing space available in the planetarium will be used to house an archive area, souvenir shop, temporary exhibitions, conference hall, and a photography room. The dome of the building will be used to house a visitor’s center, as well as to project images showing major milestones in Einstein’s career. According to Haaretz, a special lobby will be designed to exhibit Einstein’s historic library. This section will appear as a semi-transparent wall of books. The excavated floor will appear like a bowl, allowing visitors to watch the ceiling of the planetarium and the images being displayed there.
The university has not yet announced a start date for the conversion of the planetarium.