After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, most of the population concentrated in the large coastal cities or central Israel, and very few citizens occupied the peripheral countryside. Shortly thereafter, Israel greeted a great deal of immigrants. About thirty new towns were swiftly founded, most of them far-removed from the center. The immigrants’ arrival suited the state’s leaders and architects, as it answered the need to disperse the populace, and immigrants were routed toward desolate towns, sometimes under false pretenses.
Development towns became one of the country’s most significant urban phenomena but have yet to receive their rightful place within the national narrative, or their own historic museums. Over the past few years, Israel has undergone a “cultural revolution,” which involves plans toward the establishment of development towns museums.
As part of these museums’ planning-process, we have faced dilemmas such as: how to combine Israel’s national narrative with the microhistory and personal stories of development-town residents? How can we deal with topics that, to this day, are still considered painful and controversial? What values should these museums highlight?
This article illustrates the narrative development and choice process regarding what content would be displayed in development-towns museums and their guiding concept.