The note focuses on the deconstruction and re-articulation process of memory which started in Israel’s Ethnic Museums since the 1970s. These are places where the role and spaces of a subordinate and stigmatized segment of society as the Mizrahim (Jews of the Middle East and North Africa) have been redefined in the national collective memory. These museums have ethnicized the diasporic experience developing it as a stand-alone story, more complete than the Zionist master narrative. This “de-monopolization” of museums brings Israel back to its real profile of a nation divided in a number of communities of memory. Ethnic Museums, the expression of different histories and cultures marked by marginalisation, oppose the official message conveyed by the institution par excellence in this field, the Museum of the Diaspora (Beit Ha-Tefuzot) in Tel Aviv, characterized by a monolithic view of diasporic judaism. Ethnic museums raise the crucial question of what makes art galleries become heritage centres and meaningful spaces for the communities whose history they preserve. Should these communities be priviledged creators in their organization and display?
Keywords: Ethnic museums, deconstruction and rearticulation of memory, diasporic judaism, ethnicity, mizrahim