Sunday, September 9, 2012

Israel Children’s Museum busts stereotypes on aging

Visitors to the exhibition often choose pictures of happy elderly couples
when they want to depict how they will look in 30 years.
Photo by
You have to sit for a “passport photo” before entering Dialogue with Time, the new multimedia educational exhibition on aging at the Israel Children’s Museum in Holon. Later, the picture will be projected onto a large screen, and doctored to show how you might look in 30 years.

That’s just one of the surprises awaiting visitors to the museum, whose designers spent six years imagining ways to educate and entertain while encouraging discussion facilitated by guides aged 70 and over.

Opened in August, Dialogue with Time has already gotten teens thinking and talking about the golden years. Gil Omer, director general of the museum, tells ISRAEL21c that one group of youngsters ran after their guide at the end of the 90-minute tour, persuading him to talk for another 45 minutes. “When is the last time you ever saw teenagers pursuing an older person when it wasn’t in a violent context?” he asks with a smile.

Omer does not find it strange to mount an exhibition about senior citizens’ issues on the campus of a children’s museum. After all, it already houses two immensely popular exhibitions allowing visitors to feel what it’s like to be deaf or blind.

“As a proud Israeli institution, we see it as part of our mandate to highlight perspectives of segments of human society that are all too often overlooked,” Omer says. “We firmly believe that as a museum, our role is not simply to inform our guests but also to advocate for a better and more compassionate world.” --Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

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