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המכללה האקדמית בית ברל > English > About Us > News > Newsletter > June 2021 Newsletter > The Museum as a Space of Multiple Meanings

The Museum as a Space of Multiple Meanings

Beit Berl’s Center for the Advancement of Shared Society and HaMidrasha-Faculty of Arts  joined forces in a bilingual program using museums as a platform to explore identity.

The course, "Multi-Cultural Instruction in Museum Spaces," is part of the College's commitment to building a more equitably shared society in Israel. It brings together Jewish and Arab Art Education students from HaMidrasha-Faculty of Arts – with an equal number of participants from each affiliation. Together, they design a program for guiding mixed groups of Jewish and Arab children in the Herzliya Museum of Art.

"There are many layers to the course. First the Jewish and Arab students explore their own identities and interactions, and learn to teach in bilingual pairs. Then they create multi-cultural experiences for the children they teach," says Orly Sever, one of the two lecturers. Herzliya Museum staff members – both Arab and Jewish – also take part. "We foster bilingual encounters where Arabic is spoken alongside Hebrew, not as a translation of Hebrew," Orly points out. The program includes a joint workshop, where children from both communities work together on a hands-on project related to what they learned in the Museum.

Due to the pandemic, this year the program was fast-tracked. Those who took the course were 1st year students at HaMidrasha, and they guided children in grades 1-3. When the course was offered in the last two years, pre-Covid, the Beit Berl students instructed 10th graders from different schools in the towns of Raanana and Qalansuwa, and they visited the Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery in addition to the Herzliya Museum of Art.

This year, the Beit Berl students designed an educational museum tour for the young children from the Hand in Hand School located on the Beit Berl campus. The innovative bilingual school was founded in 2014 by parents from nearby Arab and Jewish towns seeking to educate their children according to values of pluralism and shared society.

The 67 children from the Hand in Hand School were guided through exhibitions at the museum and took part in a workshop. "It was very intensive and very successful. It was the first time that 1st year students examined one another's cultures, and used Arabic and Hebrew together. Our Arab students were given a central voice and now some of the Jewish students are interested in learning Arabic," Orly Sever reports. "It was a very significant experience for the students, and  made a big impression on them. Now they want to expand this experience as they continue their studies."


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