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Installation of Dead Sea Scrolls. Life and Faith in Ancient Times begins at Cincinnati Museum Center

Communal Scroll Table protects priceless scrolls and is exhibit’s main showpiece

CINCINNATI – Installation is underway for Cincinnati Museum Center’s newest blockbuster exhibition,Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times, which opens to the public Nov. 16. This week, workers assembled the first piece of the exhibit, the Communal Scroll Table.

The 25-foot-diameter, white table displays and protects the priceless 2,000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls and is the main showpiece of the exhibition. It contains ten individual display chambers, one for each scroll, along with the full English translation, a large high-resolution image and a full explanation of each scroll’s religious and historical significance.

Not only is the Communal Scroll Table used as a focal point in the exhibit, it also has a crucial role in the conservation of the scrolls. Before the scrolls can be installed, the table and scroll chambers must be assembled and stabilized for at least 14 days. To protect and preserve the scrolls, the table is designed to eliminate fluctuation in temperature and relative humidity and to control exposure to light. A stable climate of 70 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit with 48 – 50 percent relative humidity is critical to preserve the scrolls. The temperature and humidity is monitored continually, logged every 15 minutes, checked on twice a day by Museum Center registrars and the information is sent to the Israel Antiquities Authority weekly. Because of the fragility of the scrolls, they may only be on display for three months at a time before they must “rest” in complete darkness for one year. During the run of the exhibition at Museum Center, the scrolls will be rotated once, with ten new scrolls on display starting in early February.

In addition to the scrolls, the exhibit features more than 600 objects from the Biblical to Byzantine Period in Israel; times that shaped western culture and gave rise to Judaism, Christianity and eventually, Islam. Artifacts include remains of religious articles, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles and beautiful mosaics along with everyday household items such as jewelry and ceramics. Also featured is a compelling scale recreation of a section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall – complete with an authentic three-ton stone from the Wall in Israel. Guests are encouraged to bring written prayers and letters to place at the Wall to be sent to Israel.

Dead Sea Scrolls is created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) from the collections of the Israel National Treasures and produced by Discovery Times Square and The Franklin Institute. Local community partners include Presenting Sponsor: The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, and Associate Sponsors: the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Diocese of Southern Ohio, SC Ministry Foundation, Office of the Provost, University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University, among others. Hebrew Union College is also a key partner of the exhibit whose significant involvement in the history of Dead Sea Scrolls will be highlighted.

Tickets are on sale now! Individual tickets for Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times are $23 for adults, $20 for seniors (ages 60+) and $15 for children ages 3-12. Tickets for Cincinnati Museum Center Members are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Visit or call (513) 287-7021 for more information and to make your reservations.