Golden Days of Summer

Golden Days of Summer

Photographs from Beit Hatfutsot Collection

Opening: January 01, 1989

Exhibition Curator: Rachel Arbel

This exhibition of forty photographs from the collection of the Beit Hatfutsot Photo Archive, brings us memories of beautiful summer days: days of leisure and pleasure by the seaside, in the elegant spas of Europe, at campsites and in the countryside.

These photographs were taken between the late 19th century and the 1930's, mostly in Europe. In this period the "summer holiday" developed into a central element in the leisure culture of the well-to-do, and trips to the countryside became popular with the working classes. The improved standard of living of middle-class town dwellers, increased leisure time, and the development of transportation, made holidays away from home more accessible. As the industrial cities became larger and more crowded, there was a growing awareness of the benefits of visits to the countryside.

In the 19th century, wealthy Jews from Central and Western Europe were already traveling with their families during the summer months. Their most popular destinations were fashionable spa towns such as Karlsbad and Marienbad in western Austria (today Czechoslovakia), and seaside resorts on the Mediterranean, especially in Italy. In the first half of the 20th century, they were joined at these resorts by Jewish holiday makers from Eastern Europe. Those who could not afford this type of holiday spent warm summer days on outings to the countryside, bathing and sailing in the lakes and rivers near their home towns. Members of youth movements went on camping trips into the mountains and forests. Which were intended to build up their physical strength and give an experience of outdoor life, but were also a source of pleasure and relaxation.