Wherever I go I always keep my eye open for historically preserved buildings. I spotted the Schiff House (Beit Schiff) a few weeks ago on the corner of Herzl and Lillienblum, Tel-Aviv. The Israel Discount Bank Tower does dwarf it, however the care with which the building was preserved and restored to a museum lends itself to a worthwhile visit.
HerzLillienblum, The Museum of Banking and Tel-Aviv Nostalia (maybe they could have picked a more creative name) opened its doors in 2009 in Tel-Aviv’s centennial year. The tours are adapted to a variety of audiences: focusing on history or economy and those that combine the two. I went to the later in Hebrew, because it was the closest available tour.
Originally built as a residence for Olga and Izik Frank – one of the pioneers of Ahuzat Bayit (Tel-Aviv homestead). The house was renovated in 1925 by architect Yosef Berlin and engineer Richard Pasowsky in an expressive Neoclassical style. It later housed a hotel, a bank, a barbershop and even a sausage factory.
I was mostly interested in the phenomenal restoration of the exterior as well as interior by architect Amnon Bar-On. There are several examples of spectacular floor tile work.
And beautiful wall covering borders.
If you look carefully you may see the birds.
Out of the museum’s three stories the first floor was designated as a replica of the past including the first branch reconstructed using photographs and veterans’ accounts.
Authentic items from 1930 to 1940. Here is an example of a FACIT machine – one of the first calculators:
The second floor is supposed to represent modern banking.
Inside an ATM machine:
How easily cheques can be printed, a trading room – I still left confused. I was there to see the tiles:
And the third floor is supposed to represent the future of banking – I got lost in all the pyrotechnics.
Here is an example of wall restoration:
The museum is an interactive hands-on experience with films and clips which makes the hour and a half tour seem too short. Our guide was informative, polite and very efficient (I think I often held him up with all my shooting).
Tours need to be reserved: 1-700-55-8000
All images and text copyright Judy Weiss. All rights reserved.
Banking on the future and preserving the past
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