Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem
2010 – 2020 Summary Report

Equal Opportunity
& Inclusiveness

The Museum aspires to be a 'home' for everyone; for all who come through its doors, and for everyone who works for, and with, the Museum. The Museum believes that science is a common language- a language that connects people, builds a better future, and contributes to a responsible, egalitarian, and inclusive society.

Visitors at the Make Lab workshop, 2019 (Image by Yael Ilan)

Scientific and technological literacy is one of the cornerstones of a productive society. These days especially, scientific and technological literacy is proving to be vital to the health of our bodies, our civilization, and our planet.

Teachers at a Make Workshop, 2019 (Image by Avi Hayon)

In keeping with its commitment to providing equal opportunity for all, the Museum often holds events where admission is free or nominal. These events are either supported by a source of public funding or are funded by the Museum itself. Annual events such as European Researchers' Night every September, Space Week in January, Israel Science Day in March, and International Museums Day in May, in addition to one-time events such as the Jerusalem Foundation Nights, enable thousands of people each year, young and old alike, to discover, understand, and enjoy different and diverse fields of science.

European Researchers' Night, 2019 (Image by Yael Ilan)

In the last decade, the Museum has been a partner in enacting strategic change within the Ultra-Orthodox sector by helping to integrate science and technology into existing education frameworks, either as core studies or enrichment. Over the last decade, about 85,000 participants, including youth, students, and adults from the Ultra-Orthodox community have been exposed- through events and community celebrations- to basic, accessible, experiential, and exciting science, opening a window to worlds that were previously closed to them. Learning materials, tools, and facilitation skills developed at the Museum allow us to serve as an expert advisory body for expanding informal STEM educational activities within Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox community. This process of change requires patience, listening, community participation, the swaying of public opinion, and the support of stakeholders; however, we believe that a systemic change has begun, the results of which will be seen in the coming years.

Ultra Orthodox students at the museum (Image by Avi Hayon)

The Museum's activities are equally offered to the Arab sector - in East Jerusalem and beyond- meet the growing need for systemic change in educational frameworks, in regards to science and technological studies. The Museum offers a wide range of science-based programs, from kindergarten to 12th grade, tailored to the East Jerusalem curriculum, or as after-school enrichment. The programs are held at museums and schools, as well as part of community celebrations, in partnership with local enterprises. In accordance with its commitment to equality and inclusion, the Museum takes great care to make all its activities and exhibitions linguistically and culturally accessible. All the texts and labels in the Museum are also in Arabic, and a third of the Museum’s guides are Arab students from the Hebrew University. To date, 234,834 participants from the Arab education sector have taken part in the Museum's activities.

Students from East Jerusalem at a Make program, 2019 (Image by Avi Hayon)

As a Jerusalem cultural and educational institution that believes in promoting coexistence, over the last decade the Museum developed and ran many after-school programs for Jewish and Arab students. The programs, which focused mainly around Make activities, aimed to integrate and connect Jewish and Arab students from local elementary and junior high schools from East and West Jerusalem. Even at 2020, they haven't stopped, as they were offered on an online platform.

Jewish and Arab students at a shared living program  (unknown)

In recent years, the Museum became a participant in a museum forum to increase accessibility for people with special needs. In all its spaces and courtyards, the Museum is physically accessible to people with disabilities, and it is now in the process of making all exhibitions and events cognitively accessible as well. All the Museum’s programs can be tailored for special education and integrated classes, and professional Museum team members continually assess existing programs to check for suitability. In conjunction with professionals, the Museum also produces unique events for families with children with disabilities. These events take place during quiet or off-hours, and are accompanied by a team of specially trained guides. As part of its effort to remove any and all obstacles that stand in the way of those wishing to be exposed to the world of science, all these events are offered to the public at a subsidized price. The Museum continues to tailor its services to people with disabilities in order to expand the audience of visitors, young and old alike.

The museum offers special events during off-hours for families with children with special needs (Image by Yael Ilan)

Diversifying participation in STEM remains a key challenge for policy and practice internationally.  The term science capital”, coined by Prof. Louise Archer from UCL London, UK, helps us understand patterns in science participation - why some people engage with science and others do not.Science capital is the sum of scientific knowledge, proficiency, experience, attitudes, and resources that a person accumulates throughout his or her life. Research has shown that informal STEM learning settings- such as science museums- can play a central role in engaging diverse communities, and in helping individuals acquire knowledge and experiences from an early age. This significant contribution to “science capital” has results that reverberate through the generations.

High school students at the museum's Make Lab (Image by Tal Bat Lev)

In 2020, as part of SySTEM2020- a research project funded by the European Commission- the Museum and its European partners developed a toolbox that includes strategies and standards for equity in science education. The toolbox is aimed at science educators, coordinators, and facilitators working in a wide range of science education contexts, including in both formal and informal educational settings. This resource is designed to support science education activities and programs that cultivate involvement in an equitable way.

Supporting science education activities and programs that cultivate involvement in an equitable way (Image by Elyashiv Levitan)

After extensive research, Joint Ashalim, which promotes equity in education in Israel, chose to focus on STEM as a way of generating a social infrastructure of equity and fairness in elementary schools. The Museum was invited to act as the expert advisory body in the project, supporting schools and providing them with scientific advice and pedagogical guidance. In 2020, the Museum concentrated on formulatingprofessional development plans for teaching staff, operating teachers training courses, and helped make a toolbox of equity in STEM based on the concept of "sciene capital" accessible to educators throughout the country

Supporting schools and providing them with scientific advice and pedagogical guidance (Image by Noa Bloch)

In today's fast changing world, we are facing major challenges – social, economic and environmental – driven by a rapid rate of technological developments. Although we may not be able to predict the future, we can be prepared for it, by developing the cognitive and metacognitive skills people need to solve problems and to achieve their goals, as individuals and as a society as we believe that Science is everywhere, and for everyone.

We believe that science is everywhere, and for everyone
Read more:
Innovation & Creativity
Interdisciplinary Science
Life Long Learning 
Equal Opportunity  
Science Across Boundaries
Open Access 
Care for the Environment