The Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Lives up to the Hype
The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is currently open to the public through September 1st. After September 1st, the exhibition will be returned to Israel and locked up for five years, so the time to go is now.
The Dead Sea Scrolls display opens a doorway to ancient cultures and civilizations. I was recently there with my 17-year-old son, who said the exhibition brought to life the phenomenal archaeological discoveries in a way you might not be able to appreciate in a classroom. This exhibition is an ideal learning opportunity for parents and their children, especially those who are interested in settlements and cultures thousands of years ago.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient manuscripts that include the oldest known biblical documents dating back over 2,000 years. They are presented within a massive exhibit case featuring carefully climate-regulated individual chambers, along with the full English translation. The scrolls are copies from the Hebrew Bible, as well as commentary on passages from it, and copies of community rules and beliefs that provide insight into the many cultures that passed through the Dead Sea area over time.
The Dead Sea Scrolls represent one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. As the story goes, in 1947, young Bedouin goat herders wandered into a cave along the shore of the Dead Sea, near ancient site of Qumran, perhaps in search of a stray goat. Whatever the reason, they made a remarkable discovery. They found an assortment of clay jars, inside of which were scrolls wrapped in linen. Over the next nine years, archaeologists and Bedouins searched the surrounding caves. After extensive excavation, more than 900 remarkably preserved scrolls were recovered, leading to decades of scrutiny, preservation, debate and awe, providing a fascinating window to the past.
In addition, more than 600 artifacts from the ancient Middle East immerse guests in historic traditions and beliefs that continue to impact world cultures today. The authentic objects include inscriptions and seals, weapons, stone carvings, Terracotta figurines, remains of religious symbols, coins, shoes, textiles, mosaics, ceramics, jewelry and a three-ton stone from the Western Wall in Jerusalem that fell in 70 CE (Common Era).
“We learn so much about the culture and settlements near Qumran through the pottery styles and other artifacts,” said Robert Payo, educator for teacher professional development in the Museum’s Programs Department. “It’s like a personal signature of a culture. Visitors come in with the yearning to connect, either from a religious or personal
perspective, and we show them the way clues were pieced together to give them a sense as to how people lived so long ago.”
The exhibition is organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
Tickets are available at 303.370.6000 or www.dmns.org/deadseascrolls. Guests pay $25.95 adult, $21.95 senior (age 65+), $17.95 junior (ages 3 – 18). Students receive 10 percent off adult admission with their ID. All tickets include general Museum admission. Museum members receive discounted admission to the exhibition. Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations are strongly encouraged.