The Historic collection – Vision, importance and mission
A Cultural Institute is defined by the collection of historical artifacts it houses. As the National Museum of Science and Technology, MadaTech is proud to lend items from its historic collection to other museums and public institutes around the country.
Alongside the ambition to excel in science, the state of Israel recognizes the importance of preserving our assets as a nation and as a society. A society is also examined by the way it chooses to preserve its past. MadaTech's prized historic collection includes many different items showing the general development of science, technology and close fields from different periods in history. The historic collection also expresses the special contribution the Zionist movement and Israel made to the development of Zionist and Israeli science in the past generations. A significant part of the collection exists thanks to collections and items which were donated to the museum by individuals. MadaTech sincerely thanks everyone who understands how important it is for such items to be part of a museum collection and receive proper care and presentation.
Some interesting technical details:
To date (2015) the historic collection contains over 6,000 items. The collection's earliest items date back to the 18th century (mainly microscopes and telescopes). It also includes items dated through the 21th century. A large portion of the items, like different types of telephones, teleprinters, gramophones, recording devices, typewriters, early computers and medical equipment, show how fast technology developed and became accessible to our homes in the past century. Also, we are able to see how items that were once used daily 30 or 20 years ago completely disappeared from our lives.
In addition, the Historic collection contains items of historic value to the state of Israel. Of such items, the fax machine used by American secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, to send the cease-fire agreement which was signed between Israel and Egypt at the end of the Kippur war and the drawing table on which the national water carrier of Israel was designed during the 1950s by architect Alexander Berwald are both housed in MadaTech's Historical collection.
Volunteers at the historic collection and their roles
The historic collection is run by a team of volunteers, senior citizens who are professionally trained technicians and engineers. Volunteers are encouraged to join the team and volunteer at least once a week, for half a day.
The collection items are divided to 17 fields, among them: architecture, communication and print, electricity and electronics aeronautics and space, sound, light, life science, chemistry and more. Every volunteer works at one of the fields they know and are interested in. Very occasionally, a new and unfamiliar item arrives. In such a case, volunteers are on hand to find an expert to sort through the important details about the item.
Where do the items come from? How could you donate items to the museum?
The items included in the historic collection have all been donated. Most of the items arrive from private homes. When an item arrives at the museum, the historic collection team examines, checks if it is relevant and if it already exists in the collection. If the item is quite large, one of the volunteers will go to examine it at the donor’s home. The items collected are products which display technology's development over the years.
When a new item is received, the volunteers catalog it manually and in the database. They also make sure the item is clean and organized in its place. Each new item receives a serial number. Its registration includes all the relevant information about it, including who donated the item, which year was it produced in, what it was used for and any additional technical details. MadaTech is an interactive museum, and therefore collection’s ambition is to keep the items operating. When an item does not operate, the technical volunteers make sure they are fixed. When a new item is received, the donor receives a thank you note and MadaTech Family pass free of charge.
There are cases in which institutes or organizations ask to transfer items which they believe are relevant to the historic collection. Due to the connection between MadaTech and the Technion’s history, many items are often collected from many of Technion’s old classrooms. MadaTech may also exchange items in other collections, should the historic collection has more than one item of the same type.
Interested in donating an item to MadaTech’s historic collection?
Want to join the volunteer team?
Tel: 04-8661595, please turn to Yacov Stichman or Arie Shamir.