At the heart of the picturesque town of Zikhron Ya’akov stands the First Aliyah Museum. It is located at the historic building which served Baron Rothschild’s officials and was therefore named “Officials’ House”. The “First Convention” was assembled here in 1903 under the leadership of Menachem Ussishkin, and the Hebrew Teachers Association in the Land of Israel was founded here. The building, which was considered at the time as the most splendid in all the settlements of the First Aliyah, was reconstructed and restored in 1999 and became an impressive museum commemorating that period: thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe arrived in Land of Israel between 1882-1904 in order to establish farming settlements. They faced many difficulties, and the settlers found themselves struggling against the Turks, who then ruled the land, the hostile Arab neighbours, diseases and famine. To their aid came baron Rothschild who invested a lot of money and stabilized the settlements. But it was not money alone that helped the settlers. No less important were the determination, courage and belief of the young settlers, who stubbornly stuck to the land and did let loose of their vision, the vision of agriculture and industry in the Land of Israel. Thus the baron’s settlements became the base for the project of Zionist settlement in the Land of Israel.
What’s at the site: the First Aliyah Museum tells the story of populating the first settlements by an experiential journey in time through a series of six films, based on figures and stories of the period. The films accompany a family from the moment of its departure from Eastern Europe until its arrival in Land of Israel, including the daily hardships, the attempts to work the insubordinate land, the conflicts and dilemmas – both personal and social. The museum makes use of audiovisual aids, documentary films, photos and newspaper articles of the time.
For the general public: the visit of the museum is a self-guided stroll through the exhibits. Guidance for groups may be booked in advance. The duration of the tour is approx. 75 minutes. The visit of the museum may be combined with a tour of the historic town.
For children: creative workshops, quizzes, photos in periodic costumes, handicraft experience – by advance booking and on holidays.