Israel Museum

Background

Israel Museum, founded in 1965 is considered the largest cultural institution in Israel and belongs to the lading art and archeology museums in the world. The museum’s encyclopedic collection is presented in four wings: Bezalel Art Wing, Bronfman Archaeology Wing, Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life, and Youth Art and Education Wing. The Exhibition spaces contain more than 500,000 works of art, archeology, ethnography and Judaica, representing the world’s cultures from a million and a half years ago, to the present.

Business Challenge

Each department in the Israel Museum has its own database. The various departments (Ethnography, Modern Art, Judaica, Prehistoric Period, etc.) include approximately 40 types of material, and each department uses a separate material type for its item cards. In 2002, the Israel Museum sought out a company that could integrate the museum’s collections, which were computerized in different software applications (Excel, Access, Ex Libris and others) In addition, it was necessary to collect all the records in order to conduct a system of encyclopedic terms that will include all the international museum assets.
After examining a number of solutions, the museum chose IDEA Information Systems’ IDEA MUSE, since the system met with a series of requirements, including multilingual capabilities, flexibility in managing fields and material types, and local support.

The Solution

IDEA MUSE – The unique solution for managing collections, displays and digital assets in museums.
The system includes specific management tools that meet with the needs of each department’s professional team (curators, service departments, archives, information centers, libraries, etc.). The system provides the museum’s personnel and visitors with fast and simple access to the information they need.

Implementation

The project began in 2002 and included multiple conversions from a variety of existing systems in the museum, merging the separate databases into one central database and distribution to dozens of databanks according to the a variety of departments at the museum, where  each curator was given unique cataloging and search permission for his own department’s database. By doing that the museum has achieved its goals, meeting with the needs of the curators, laboratory personnel, registrars and departments services – an effective method of managing work and updating information within the system. For the system enables all departments to  access simultaneously all the information in accordance with their authorizations: Curators have access to historical information on objects’ conservation which comes from the laboratories, the Department of Photography and copyright provides information by digital imaging, the Department of Publicity and Marketing provides fast and efficient answers for the public’s questions and so forth.
In addition, The IDEA MUSE multilingual capabilities were implemented, allowing the cataloging of every object both in Hebrew and English, and thus displaying it in the language requested by the end user
In 2010, another project was implemented – “Israeli Art Information Center,” which deals with the documentation and preservation of the digital heritage of Israeli art. The Information center includes works and exhibitions of leading artists in Israel, both works that are exhibited in the Israel Museum as well as in other museums in Israel and around the world. In addition, the center deals with the documentation of the information about each and every artist in   hundred years of Israeli art.
The entire items of the information center are digital and are displayed on the a dedicated stylish intranet site – photographs of works of art, links to related articles, exhibitions, movies and more.
Today, about 1 million records are cataloged, some manually and some via automated absorption and most departments in the museum are now making use of IDEA’s system.

The Benefit

IDEA MUSE system allows cataloging, managing and tracking each item in the museum, the library and the archives. The system’s advanced capabilities include multilingual interfaces; links to exhibitions, labs and photographs; lists with images of the items; and flexible definitions of authorization groups for the various items and fields.
IDEA’s museum management system places the Israel Museum among the world’s most technologically advanced museums.

The Technology

IDEA MUSE for museums, IDEA’s Web module, IDEA’s Multi Lingual module, IDEA Log module,  DB (Microsoft SQL Server), IDEA’s API (Web Services)

“The museum is now benefiting from IDEA MUSE and a single database, enabling orderly and efficient management of the museum’s collections”
Dr. Kuppiatzky Aliza – Manager of the Information Center of Israeli Art, Israel Museum

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