Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls in Minnesota

A special Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition opened on Friday at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  From the Minnesota Daily:

As a precaution against weathering, each set of scrolls can be displayed for just 10 weeks. By the end of October, three sets of five scrolls will have been on display. This is the first time three sets of scrolls have been part of an exhibit in the United States, SMM Vice President Mike Day said.

Imholte said the largest task has been to replicate the cave environment that kept the scrolls so well preserved. The case for each scroll has its own climate control system that keeps the temperature about 68 degrees and the humidity at 50 percent.

Ensuring that the scrolls are lit sufficiently is another battle. Imholte said light is one of the most damaging elements to them.

And although the scrolls are the focal point of the exhibit, they are surrounded by a wide array of archaeological material from the region, which Imholte said will set it apart from all other Dead Sea Scroll exhibits.

“There will never be another one like it, and there has never been one like it before,” he said.

“This exhibit is really one-of-a-kind from the point of view of new material and new way of presenting it,” said Dr. Hava Katz, IAA chief curator of national treasures.

Katz has spent the last 16 years overseeing all Dead Sea Scroll exhibits in her home country of Israel and around the world. As chief curator, she is responsible for more than a million artifacts, the most important of which are the scrolls.

If you’re in the area, you should make plans to visit.

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