My daughter and a friend of ours went to the Exhibit on Saturday. It's in Ft. Worth at the Southwestern Theological Baptist Seminary. I wish I had photos to share but cameras were not allowed. It was absolutely a marvel ~ so much history and artifacts. There were a few of the actual scrolls, tiny pieces no larger than about 2-3 inches. They were encased in temperature and light controlled form. There were amazing copies of many scrolls ~ digitally created with parchment paper, certain inks and preservatives. The written scriptures, in English, would be displayed and the history of the original copies added.
There were vessels that contained water, grains and other liquids. Small containers that were evidently used for perfumes and medicines. Pottery was used in many forms ~ cups, plates, bowls, etc. Archaic surgical instruments which really make one extremely grateful for modern medicine! Small pieces of stone with writing, small copies of burial vaults and crypts. Most all of them had drawings and writings on the top, sides and back in Aramaic, Greek and Latin. There were absolutely spectacular photos, some 6-8 ft in length and width, of the caves, Dead Sea, burial tombs, artifacts, Jerusalem and the people. Evidence of the first use of make-up was displayed...very crude utensils, Kohl and minerals that were used to add color. Nothing like our brushes, pencils, sponges, Q-tips, cotton and all the other paraphernalia we use today. :)
There were bibles showcased from the first printings in German, English and other languages. They were HUGE and absolutely beautiful! We walked through a small hallway that was a "cave" and very much like the caves in those days. There were lots of crude pieces of what the people would use as tools. Outside, they built a place to "dig" like Qumran was. I'm sure this would be a hit with kids! At the end of the tour, there was a wailing wall and you could write a prayer and slip it in between the stones. Words are difficult to find to express the wonder, the sacredness and the absolute treasure this experience was.
I spoke with a young lady from South Korea for a bit. She was a guide and so kind. She and her husband are here for educational purposes. They are both teachers in their homeland and so looking forward to returning. They want to learn more about U.S. teaching practices, grading, etc. She said there were so many Christian schools opening in South Korea and they were anxious to be able to teach there again. I asked about their transition in living here and she said it was very difficult. They had to have a car as there is no mass transportation like they have at home. They went to Car Max with cash and could not purchase a car because they did not have Social Security cards! I would think it would be driver's licenses but no. She said, "At home, everyone looks like me, speaks Korean and we do not need cars." Can you imagine being in a foreign country without transportation, being able to speak the language or not having family & friends? I applaud them!
One thing before I go...we were totally shocked at some people's behavior during the tour. You can take advantage of an escort from the staff or view at your leisure. We elected the latter, however, some people were totally rude and irreverent. Have you seen those people of Walmart photos? Some were dressed very similar to that, talked loud and laughed, encouraged their kids to cut in line, you name it. I would think the parents would want to explain the exhibit and its importance....I guess not. We all want to go back ~ there's just sooooo much to see and read ~ but it will be on a weekday next time.
Please be aware that I know this is lengthy and I've really, really tried to provide the Reader's Digest version!
If you're in the DFW area or anywhere in Texas, I think you must take advantage of this once in a lifetime experience. The exhibit is being returned to the donors and sponsors in January and continued work is always going on as they find more documents. Even if you're not in Texas, consider a little trip this way...and you and I could meet! ;-)
Here is a link with information ~