The Abu Jihad Museum for Prisoner Movement Affairs

Prisoners' artwork at the Abu Jihad Museum

Prisoners’ artwork at the Abu Jihad Museum

The Abu Jihad Museum for Prisoner Movement Affairs is a three-storey museum, library, archive, and office space located on the campus of Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem in the West Bank. Organized around the history of Palestinian prisoners and their relationship to the national liberation struggle and human rights issues, the museum is one of several institutions in Palestine dedicated to telling the story of Palestinian prisoners.

Part of the exhibition space at the Abu Jihad Museum

Part of the exhibition space at the Abu Jihad Museum

Exhibits on display on the first two floors offer basic background about the history of prison struggles and the local and national solidarity movement, as well as information about specific prisoners. The museum also features revolving exhibitions of political posters, a wall commemorating the 200+ political prisoners who have died in Israeli jails, a large selection of prisoner artwork, and an educational display about prisoners’ “capsule” notes– that is, notes written on small sheets of paper, wrapped in plastic to form small pill-like capsules, and then swallowed and smuggled out of the prisons. Using this method, Palestinian prisoners have, for many years, communicated with each other across a wide network of jails, prisons, and detention centers. The architecture of these exhibits is meant to convey the sense of being in an Israeli prison.The archives of the Abu Jihad Museum for Prisoner Movement Affairs, Al-Quds University

The top floor of the museum houses an archive and library containing hundreds of volumes. Books housed here are mainly of two types: 1) published books that were smuggled into and studied within prisons, and 2) notebooks and journals of prisoners. Many of these volumes were hand-bound and reinforced by the prisoners with cardboard and magazine advertisements. The museum is actively scanning, digitizing, summarizing, and cataloging the prisoner narratives, and hopes to get them online soon.
For more information, visit the museum’s website.