Museum of Bedouin Culture
Museum of Bedouin Culture Review
Once off the main road, you'll drive through the Lahav pine forest adjacent to Kibbutz Lahav to reach the Joe Alon Center, whose centerpiece is this one-of-a-kind museum focusing on the Bedouin people, who have long populated the Negev. The study center (marked with an orange sign) is named for the late Colonel Joe Alon, a pilot who took a great interest in this area and its people. Housed in a circular, tent-like building designed by Israeli architect Tzvi Lissar, the museum tells the story of the Bedouin's rapid change from a nomadic to a modern lifestyle through tableaux of life-size mannequins. The tableaux are grouped by subject: wool spinning and carpet weaving, bread baking, the Bedouin coffee ceremony, wedding finery (including a camel elaborately decorated for the event), donkeys and camels at work, and toys made from found objects such as pieces of wire and wood. The tools and artifacts—most handmade, and many already out of use in modern Bedouin life—form an outstanding collection. Admission includes a cup of thick coffee in a real Bedouin tent, where the sheikh performs the coffee ceremony over an open fire.