The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University, located in a unique building that resembles a treasure chest, will open its doors to the general public for a trial period in the coming weeks.

The museum presents Israel’s national treasures of nature, selected from a scientific collection of five and a half million items. In its exhibitions you will see thousands of items gathered through the years, in rare exhibits and displays that tell the story of the natural world around us.

The mission of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University is to inspire acquisition of knowledge, to promote understanding, and to reinforce our bonds with nature and our place within it – for the benefit of future generations.

The museum reveals scientific knowledge from research taking place within the museum itself and unique perspectives in an experiential, multi-sensory and enjoyable way, creating a special closeness and interaction with nature that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

The museum “took a while to get off the ground but it’s a huge project and it needed to be developed in all aspects,” explained Prof. Tamar Dayan, the chair of the museum, in a conversation with Arutz Sheva.

The museum is the first natural history museum in the Middle East and provides an opportunity “to be very current both in our research and in our interface with the public,” said Prof. Dayan. “So it’s very special, it’s unique, it’s a huge opportunity for us, and we’ve done our best to take advantage of it using multimedia and computer games.”

Israel “is an incredibly rich and diverse country in terms of its ecosystems diversity, species diversity…we have a very strong climatic gradient over a very small area. We have a very sharp topographic gradient. We have two seas: The Mediterranean and the Red Sea. We’re at the intersection of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. All these together bring a very, very high variety of life forms to Israel and a very high variety of ecosystems to Israel.”

Israelis need to be “very very thoughtful in our development, in our planning, in our natural resource use. It’s a real challenge. We’re a very highly educated country and we ought to be able to meet this challenge,” continued Prof. Dayan. “We bring together all the science that’s the basis of decision-making. We’re not decision-makers, we’re not a green organization, but we try to produce the science that will support wise decision-making and we also try to transfer our knowledge to the general public.”