Bi­ble Mu­seum to dis­play ar­ti­facts from Holy Land un­der deal

The China Post - - ARTS -

The Mu­seum of the Bi­ble be­ing built in Washington will fea­ture an­cient ar­ti­facts and trea­sures from the Holy Land un­der a new deal that en­sures Is­rael’s lead­ing ar­chae­o­log­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion will have an out­post in the U.S. cap­i­tal.

An agree­ment be­tween the mu­seum and the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Au­thor­ity an­nounced Tues­day will bring a se­lec­tion of ar­ti­facts ex­ca­vated in Is­rael for long-term dis­play in a top-floor gallery at the new Bi­ble mu­seum. The US$400 mil­lion, eight-story mu­seum is set to open near the Na­tional Mall in the heart of the cap­i­tal in 2017.

The spe­cific ar­ti­facts to be dis­played in Washington haven’t been set­tled, of­fi­cials said, though they will be re­lated to the Bi­ble. Plans call for both a per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion and ro­tat­ing spe­cial ex­hibits. In 1993, the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Au­thor­ity ex­hib­ited the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Li­brary of Congress in Washington.

Re­searchers and cu­ra­tors from the Is­raeli au­thor­ity will write the ex­hi­bi­tion text based on their re­search from nu­mer­ous ex­ca­va­tions in the field, and the mu­seum will de­sign the ex­hibit, said Ja­cob Fisch, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the New York-based Friends of the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Au­thor­ity.

“We share one mis­sion, and that’s telling the story that is based on the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ma­te­rial,” Fisch said of the mu­seum part­ner­ship. “We’re very sci­en­tif­i­cally based, re­search based.”

While the Is­raeli group has a long-term loan ar­range­ment with the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York to dis­play about 30 ob­jects, the Bi­ble mu­seum ex­hibit will in­clude hun­dreds or even thou­sands of ob­jects from Is­rael’s 2 mil­lion ar­ti­facts.

“We have a lot of ex­hibits that travel around the world. We have a long-term ex­hibit at the Met,” he said. “But we don’t have our own gallery in which we can keep ma­te­rial for a whole num­ber of years on a long-term loan ba­sis.”

The Mu­seum of the Bi­ble al­ready holds a col­lec­tion of about 40,000 ob­jects from its founder, Hobby Lobby Pres­i­dent Steve Green. The Green Col­lec­tion in­cludes rare bib­li­cal texts and ar­ti­facts, such as cu­nei­form tablets dat­ing to the time of Abra­ham, To­rah scrolls and rare printed Bi­bles.

“When we set out to build the best new mu­seum in the world, we knew the mu­seum would be even bet­ter if we joined forces with some of the great­est col­lec­tions any­where,” said Mu­seum Pres­i­dent Cary Sum­mers in an­nounc­ing the Is­raeli agree­ment.

The mu­seum also is be­gin­ning its own ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig at TelShim­ron, a his­toric site in Is­rael.

Green, the mu­seum’s chair­man, is known for fund­ing con­ser­va­tive and evan­gel­i­cal causes. He pro­vided seed money to be­gin build­ing the US$400-mil­lion Bi­ble mu­seum. Or­ga­niz­ers have said they will present sto­ries from dif­fer­ent re­li­gious view­points that visi­tors can choose from.


This hand­out photo pro­vided by the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Au­thor­ity (IAA) shows pot­tery heads of ‘pil­lar’ fig­urines, Jerusalem and other Judean sites from the Sec­ond Iron Age, eighth-sixth cen­tury B.C.. The Mu­seum of the Bi­ble, now un­der con­struc­tion in Washington, will fea­ture an­cient ar­ti­facts and trea­sures from the Holy Land un­der a new deal with the Is­rael An­tiq­ui­ties Au­thor­ity.

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