Top-notch design, a revolutionary concept and the world’s most far-reaching display. Atop the rolling hills of the West Bank town of Birzeit, near Ramallah, The Palestinian Museum is emerging as a physical and virtual space where Palestinians can explore their past, present and future.
Designed by Heneghan Peng, the museum is set to open in 2015, featuring stone and glass facades that merge seamlessly with the natural setting of Birzeit’s cascading terraces. Stretching across 40,000 square meters, the museum will be Palestine’s first energy-efficient green building. But its most striking feature is the revolutionary idea it puts forward: a museum without borders that can serve, not as a location, but an institution available to Palestinians wherever they are.
“We know that more than half of the Palestinians are outside of Palestine. So we started thinking of the museum as a hub with branches and partnerships in other places, particularly in places where Palestinians themselves cannot access this site in Birzeit,” Jack Persekian, director of the Museum, said in an interview with Electronic Intifada. Internally, they are also mapping Palestine’s 51 museums to build a network that breaks off the barriers laid by the occupation.
The museum is now inviting Palestinians to participate in its opening show, Never Part, by submitting stories about the objects they have kept and cherished on their website. This exhibition, together with “Palestine in the Eyes of the World” and “In the Presence of the Holy See” can be visited online, too.