HaMizgaga Museum is a hidden gem, with a fascinating collection of nautical and regional archaeological finds. The exhibits are housed in a former glass factory in the heart of Kibbutz Nachsholim. The kibbutz is on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, about 20km south of Haifa. Most of the museum exhibits were discovered just a short walk away, at the Tel-Dor archaeological mound and in the seabed just offshore. Today the Nachsholim coast is a sleepy stretch of sandy beaches and rock pools frequented by families, but for thousands of years it was a hub of maritime activity.
The Former Glass Factory at Kibbutz Nachsholim
The museum is in a two-story stone building that once housed a wine-bottle factory opened by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild in 1891. For a time, the factory was managed by Meir Dizengoff, who would become Tel-Aviv’s first mayor. The local sand was found unsuitable for glassmaking, and the factory faced other challenges that made it unprofitable. It closed just five years after opening and the building was abandoned. Then in 1980, members of the kibbutz began restoring the structure. Nearby at Tel Dor, excavations took place that uncovering a wealth of archaeological treasures. The abandoned bottle factory became a perfect venue to display finds from Tel Dor, archaeological artifacts recovered from the regional waters and local glass art.
What to See at the Museum of Archaeology and Glass Nachsholim
The museum building is an attraction in itself, and most of the architecture has been restored and preserved. The exhibits include artifacts discovered at the Tel Dor archaeological mound, just 500m from the museum. Over the course of 3,000 years, Tel Dor was settled by Canaanites, Israelites, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. See the treasures from these diverse cultures that used this stretch of coast as a gateway to the Middle East. Also on display are archaeological remnants from ancient shipwrecks offshore. Thousands of years ago, this stretch of coast had busy shipping routes, with the Roman port of Caesarea just a few kilometers south. The nearby coast has seen many vessels crashed and torn apart, leaving treasures on the rocky seabed. Besides archaeological artifacts, the museum displays local glass artwork. During school vacations and national holidays, the museum provides family activities and glass-blowing demonstrations. Next to the museum is an ancient burial cave that has recently opened to the public.