Next spring, the Dead Sea Scrolls will come to life in St. Paul, Minnesota—well, figuratively speaking.
The Science Museum of Minnesota plans to exhibit three sets of five of the actual scrolls discovered in caves along the shore of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. This collection of important writings includes biblical manuscripts, commentary and rules for community life and details of religious rituals. Fragments of the earliest known texts of the Old Testament, dating back 2,000 years, will be displayed. The exhibit opens March 12, 2010.
"The scrolls are real spiritual and archaeological treasures that rarely leave Israel," said Mike Day, senior vice president for museum enterprises, "so seeing them here in St. Paul and learning the science behind their discovery, analysis and conservation will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Science Museum visitors.”
Michael Wise, Ph.D., professor of Hebrew Bible & ancient languages and scholar-in-residence at University of Northwestern, worked closely with the curators of the exhibit. They met regularly over several months and planned the entire exhibit, with all its artifacts, pictures and placards. "My personal goal,” Wise said, "is that this will be the best exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls there has ever been, helping to answer such questions as ‘Who wrote them?’ ‘How did we get the Bible?’ and ‘How did it come together?’"
Visiting the exhibit will be a rich experience where visitors can see the actual scrolls and learn about their excavation, conservation and meaning. There will be lectures by international experts, classes and workshops, and artifacts from ancient Israel that provide a window into life during those times.
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit will continue through the summer of 2010. To learn more about the exhibit or buy tickets, visit the Science Museum’s website at www.smm.org/scrolls.