Ramla’s Municipal Museum was opened in 2001 in a historic building erected in 1922 which served Ramla’s municipality in the course of the British Mandatory period.
The Municipal Museum documents and presents the town’s history from its founding in the 8th century AD and until today. The permanent exhibition is housed in six rooms, showing finds representing everyday life, commerce and art as well as the population’s multi-cultural ethnic fabric. In addition, the exhibition includes a selection of coins and hidden treasures that were discovered in the town, as well as models of central and historic buildings - the Pool of Arches and the compound of the White Mosque.
The museum also shows an exhibition on Israel’s War of Independence in and around Ramla as well as a tent from a transit camp for immigrants, which represents the settlement activities taking place in town in the 1950s, and displays details on planned urban development and also contains a memorial room for the town’s soldiers who fell during the wars Israel underwent. (“Yad LaBanim”).
Temporary Collections and Exhibitions
The Museum’s collections (part of which is stored away) include archeological artifacts on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authorities, pictures and documents from the town’s history, a collection of traditional soaps and products of Arab soap manufacture from the beginning of the 20th century; a collection of “Happy New Year” cards as well as a collection of household items and devices for domestic chores from the time of the immigrant camps.
The Museum features a new wing for changing exhibitions which includes two exhibition rooms with a total area of 90 m2. The space houses changing exhibitions from the Museum’s collections, works by the town’s artists and exhibitions on a variety of different subjects.
The Golden Hoard
A special exhibition is dedicated to the coins of the town of Ramla as well as to hidden treasures found in the town and its surroundings, including a hoard of 376 gold dinars and six gold bars discovered in 1964 by chance close, to the compound of the White Tower. The hoard includes coins that were minted all over the Islamic world at the time, from the town of Muhmadia (today Messilah in Algeria) in the west and up to Samarkand in Central Asia (today in Uzbekistan).
The oldest coin in the formerly hidden treasure dates from the year 769 AD (the year 143 of the Hegirah or Hijra), and the latest coin was minted in Baghdad in the middle of the 10th century AD. Most of the coins are identical in their size and weight (about 4.2 grams each), and their value was therefore almost the same.
The hoard was discovered without any clear archeological context, and it was therefore difficult to determine whom it belonged to and what the circumstances of its concealment had been. It is reasonable to assume that the coins belonged to a banker, a money changer or a merchant.
During the early Islamic period, it was customary to pay for goods or services with gold coins or gold bars, because the worth of a coin was determined by the weight and quality of the material from which it was fashioned. In view of this, the gold bars that were found in the treasure might be considered to have been an alternative means of payment.
Its value in the Middle Ages was equal to the cost of living expended by an average urban family for more than 30 years.
The Hoard of Coins from the Mamluk Period
This treasure was discovered in 1996 in the course of salvage excavations when preparing the grounds for the erection of the Ramla Mall. This hoard includes 184 coins, the majority of which are made from copper as well as 16 silver coins at a partial value of one dirham (from 1/8 to ¾ of a dirham).
The coins represent the mints of Damascus in the Aleppo region and of Hama in Syria as well as the mints of Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt. They date from the year 759 of the Hegira (1357 AD) to the year 833 of the Hegirah (1429 AD). There were also two Roman coins found in the treasure as well as one coin from the time of the Great Revolt.
Ramla in the Year 5708 – 1948: On exhibit are maps, documents and telegrams from the time of the War of Independence
The maps include the combat plans of the “Etzel” organization from May 17th to May 19th, 1948 as well as the battle plans for Operation Dani and the orders of the day as they were transferred from headquarters, including orders concerning the civil population and conditions of surrender. Another document shows the letter of surrender as it was signed in Kibbutz Na’an on July 12th, 1948. The photo shows the original and a printed copy.
The Memorial Room – Yad LaBanim
The Memorial Room contains albums dedicated to each of the fallen soldiers, sons of Ramla who lost their lives in the wars of Israel. These albums include photos, documents, newspaper articles and official print-outs from the Memorial website “Yizkor” run by Israel’s Ministry of Defense, as well as additional materials collected from the families and friends of the fallen. The hall also houses a multimedia station which offers further information on the fallen soldiers and Israel’s wars.
In the Museum’s courtyard is a memorial plaza for Ramla’s fallen soldiers which is part of the President’s Park.
The Tent of the Immigrants’ Camp Collection of Items from the 1950s and 1960s
The symbolic tent recreates “home life” during the time of the immigrants’ camps. The tent’s interior exhibits items from the daily life of the immigrants in the camps from the 1950s. The exhibits include Primus cookers, kerosene burners, a laundry tub and washboard as well as additional items typical of the time.
There is also a collection of household items, certificates and other objects serving the town’s residents when they lived in immigrants’ camps. The collection was donated to the Museum by Ramla’s citizens.
The Collection of Archeological Finds
• A collection of finds discovered in the course of various excavations in Ramla. The collection includes objects from daily life - storage, cooking, serving and eating; items connected to the handiwork of artisans and industry in town; artists’ utensils; copies of documents from the Geniza of Cairo referring to the town of Ramla and more.
• A collection of treasures and coins – a selection of coins minted in Ramla at the time when the town blossomed; the collection is arranged in chronological order and enables visitors to learn about the history of coinage in Ramla. In addition, this collection contains the hoard discovered in town which includes 357 gold dinars and six gold bars. For further information on the collection, click here.
• An educational collection of archeological items containing vessels and shards of vessels from different materials - clay, metal, glass, stone and more. The collection is arranged on a special study cart which enables students to directly touch (in a controlled manner) these ancient materials and vessels.
* All items in the archeological collection are on loan by courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authorities.
Ramla's Museum. Photo: Ron Peled
Yad Labanim. Photo: Ron Peled
Sun. – Thurs.: 10:00 to 16:00 hrs. Fri. and holiday eves: 10:00 to 13:00 hrs. * A group visit requires previous reservation ** Group visits may start as early as 09:00 am Tel.: 08-9292650 Fax: 08-9292450 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 112 Herzl Street, Ramla