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The Founding Contexts of Kibbutz Museums and the Case of the Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod

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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.


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