The Masada Museum in Memory of Yigael Yadin
The ancient Masada fortress is one of Israel’s most famous and popular tourist attractions, a combination of history, antiquity and archeology set against the primeval natural landscape of the Dead Sea desert region. The story of Masada comes to life at the Masada Museum in Memory of Yigael Yadin. The unique, dramatic exhibit takes the museum experience to a new level with an innovative combination of archeological artifacts, theatrical elements, informative audio explanations and a dramatic radio play.
The ancient artifacts that feature in the museum were discovered at archeological digs at the Masada site between 1963 and 1965. The expeditions were run by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the direction of the late Professor Yigael Yadin. At the museum, these artifacts are displayed in illuminated showcases over nine theatrical scenes that focus on three main themes of the Masada story: Herod, the Rebels, and the Roman Army. The stunning archeological pieces are exhibited against a magnificent backdrop that takes in the walls, floors and other elements, such as sculpted figures and architectural icons. In an atmosphere of minimal lighting, the display creates three-dimensional allusions, enhanced by the dramatic angles of the life-size backdrop.
Each of the nine scenes of the Masada story is designed to recreate a slice of history, based on the interaction between the archeological artifact and the setting. Together with this fascinating visual spectacle, museum visitors enjoy an accompanying audio performance, via earphones. The audio element presents informative explanations of the exhibit. In addition, a recorded dramatic play provides an experiential interpretation of the story of the artifact.
Visitors to the museum can deeply connect to the Masada story via the ancient objects, displayed as they existed and were used in that long ago era, based on the famous historical account of the writings of Flavius Josephus. The museum experience begins with a ‘meeting’ of the legendary historian in his garden in Rome. Then, take a journey back in time, from the ruling period of King Herod, builder of Masada, through the Great Revolt against Rome, when the rebels lived on the mountaintop, to the Roman siege and the fall of Masada.
The journey through the Masada story ends in the final space of the museum dedicated to the excavator of the site, Professor Yigael Yadin, the renowned archeologist who uncovered so many ancient mysteries hidden at the fascinating Masada fortress.