Sir Arthur Gilbert was born in London to his parents Bella and Eliezer Bernstein (who are documented in the Family Album) and grew up in Golders Green in north London, a neighborhood with a large Jewish community. He married Rosalind Gilbert, a fashion designer, in 1934 and adopted her family name. The couple established an evening gown business which prospered and within fifteen years the couple accumulated a fortune.
In 1949 the Gilbert family moved to Los Angeles, California, where Arthur Gilbert turned his attention to his collector and philanthropic enterprise. He began donating funds to different public organizations in America and Israel. Among others, he founded the Los Angeles Music Center, served as chairman of the American Technion and, together with his wife, built student dormitories in memory of the Israeli sportsmen murdered in Munich at the 1972 Olympic Games. During his later years, Sir Arthur Gilbert was involved in the construction of the building in the Hebrew University for foreign students (as a youth, he arrived in 1925 with his parents for the opening of the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus).
The pinnacle of his philanthropic activities was the donation of his tremendous gold and silver objects d’arts collection, valued at more than 200 million dollars, as a millennium gift to Great Britain. This collection of decorative art is considered the largest in the world and is exhibited in the “Somerset House” in London. It was thanks to this philanthropic act that he received the title “Sir” from the Queen of England.
In 2000 contact was made between Sir Arthur Gilbert and the Museum in Rishon Le-Zion and the Family Album was granted a large donation which made its wide-scoped development possible.
Sir Arthur passed away in 2001 in America.