Birzeit University Museum is an innovative art space at the heart of the university campus, seeking to produce contemporary arts and promote its practice amongst the university community and across the Palestinian society at large, through a multidisciplinary experimental approach. The Museum works organically through its surrounding environment, proposing a unique learning model for an art museum within the Palestinian cultural experience.
Enriching the knowledge on art practices, will provide a boundless potential for social development.
Believing that art practice is an active instrument to develop creative capacities & to generate progressive ideas ,Birzeit University Museum works to produce contemporary art and to promote it as learning experience.
Birzeit University Museum stands today on a legacy of an unparalleled museum experience within the Palestinian context, creating venues for arts , critical debate & professional development .Based on its local context ,the museum develops its concept for art production, cultural heritage, exhibition design, educational experience and public outreach.
Birzeit University Museum values the collective & colligial work that involves art practetioners with the university community.It envisions the process of creating an exhibition as significant platform for the museum educational & public outreach program.The museum role have been developed through the historrical role of the univeristy where the accumulation of cultural production is a main value. Knowldge on art practice would empower youth on the intellectual & political level to form new perspective to the future.
Birzeit University Museum collections home over 2100 pieces today, including the Traditional Palestinian Costumes Collection, Tawfiq Canaan Talismans and Amulets Collection and Art Works Collection. Through this program, the expanding artistic and ethnographic collections are studied, displayed, documented and conserved.
The collections are also used as a material and visual source of knowledge that look into the notions of history, identity, heritage and many more. The Birzeit University collections have been the corner stone of the Museum for more than 20 years.
Many of the art works have been displayed in several occasions in different places on campus, such as the main library building, Kamal Nasser auditorium and several offices. The Canaan hall in the Post-Graduate Studies Building is open for visits for the ethnographic collection, for artistic and academic purposes.
Through this program, the Museum opens a new platform for the local community to come in direct interaction with self produced artistic exhibitions on certain issues, like the sequential Cities Exhibition, Beyond Aesthetics and Framed-Unframed and Political Posters, and solo exhibitions like “Floating Free” by Bashir Makhoul, and a variety of student exhibitions allowing the use the Musuem as a supporting space.
This program offers student a varied and hands on training opportunity, whereby it shifts their standpoint from audience to active participants in artistic production.
Birzeit University Museum offers various educational opportunities, through offering a course for BA students entitled "Contemporary Palestinian Art" and volunteering, training and internship opportunities, as part of “Basar” program, besides the Art for Schools program which targets school students and art teachers.
Main Birzeit University Museum Gallery
The main gallery was opened since 2005, with an open exhibition space of 400 square meters, including offices, exhibition space and student studios.
The gallery offer a year long open program of exhibitions, where students and faculty members use the main hall and the exhibition space for discussions and different lectures.
Canaan Hall was opened in 2013 as a small exhibition space for the ethnographic collections and for research, documentation and restoration. It is open for pre-arranged visitors, artists and researchers who are encouraged to use the collections in academic and artistic research. It includes 1600 pieces of the Dr. Tawfiq Canaan Collections and the Traditional Costumes.
This was the first hall dedicated for preserving and displaying collections in the corridors of Sabbagh Building, where many exhibitions took place before the establishment of the Museum. Currently, Qamariah Hall is used for collection storage and classification of artistic collections that have reached 370 art works.
The Birzeit University Museum opened Daraj Gallery in the summer of 2016 as a space for experimental and educational exhibitions for young artists and curators, empowering them to showcase their cultural productions and offering them an open platform for debate with their colleagues and audience. This is the first gallery dedicated for the use of Art Faculty students, which is currently under construction.
The Virtual Gallery
It was established as an online archive for Palestinian art practice. It was launched in 2005, with the objective of offering a window on contemporary art in Palestine available in both Arabic and English. The gallery was setup as a specialized website for contemporary visual art that provides regular and updated information on the latest developments in the Palestinian art scene, locally and abroad. The online gallery included a library, previews of exhibitions, artist portfolios, talks and seminars. It became a valuable reference on art practice within the Palestinian context. It also included a data base of the rare art and ethnographic collections owned by the university.