Witness more than 2,000 years of history in Dead Sea Scrolls. Life and Faith in Ancient Times at Cincinnati Museum Center

Exhibition of largest collection of artifacts ever to tour outside of Israel opens Nov. 16

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center’s highly anticipated blockbuster exhibition, Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times opens this Friday, Nov. 16. Experience the most comprehensive collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever organized, including one of the largest collections of the priceless 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls displayed in North America.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition 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, fragments of the scrolls, weapons of war, stone carvings, textiles and beautiful mosaics along with everyday household items such as jewelry and ceramics. In addition, the exhibition features a compelling scale recreation of a section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall – complete with an authentic three-ton stone from the Wall in Israel.

“I’m proud that Cincinnati Museum Center is able to bring to our region such a comprehensive exhibit, including some of the most important ancient manuscripts in the world,” says Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered to be among the world’s greatest archaeology discoveries, and combined with the hundreds of other rare artifacts, provide visitors with an unparalleled look at what everyday life was like thousands of years ago.”

Cincinnati Museum Center is the third stop on this national tour, and only regional venue to host this exhibition. Throughout the exhibition’s run (Nov. 16 – April 14, 2013), visitors will have the opportunity to view 20 different scroll fragments. Ten Scrolls will be on display at a time and include pieces from the biblical books of Genesis, Numbers, Psalms and others.

“In many cases, we know the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life and ancient written documents,” said Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, professor at San Diego State University and exhibition curator. “The exhibition reveals a record of extraordinary human achievement, which constitutes a momentous contribution to our cultural legacy.”

In addition to the scrolls and other artifacts, there are also several multimedia presentations throughout the exhibition to provide context. Topics include a look at the arid environment where the scrolls survived undisturbed for nearly 2,000 years, narrations of the political implications of the discoveries and the painstaking process through which the scroll fragments – some no larger than a postage stamp – were pieced together over a span of decades.

The Dead Sea Scroll exhibit coming to Cincinnati is an example of partners coming together doing remarkable things which make our city great. 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.

“The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati is delighted to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. This is an excellent opportunity for our community to experience something thoroughly unique,” said Michael R. Oestreicher, president of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. “We believe that this exhibit will enrich our community as it showcases these precious artifacts so full of significance in Judeo-Christian tradition. Dead Sea Scrolls will engage people from many different backgrounds, faiths and cultures.”

Cincinnati has a very special and unique part in the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls which will be highlighted in the exhibition. Exhibit partner Hebrew Union College, beginning with its former president (1947-1971), Dr. Nelson Glueck, played an important role in the events surrounding the scrolls from the time they were discovered. This included efforts to recover some of the scrolls from antiquities dealers, authenticating the scrolls, early academic debate about the significance and dating of the scrolls, participating in the scholarly efforts surrounding the scrolls and purchasing the first photographic security copies of the scrolls.

“Since 1948 Hebrew Union College has played an important role in the acquisition, preservation and study of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” says Jason Kalman, Gottschalk-Slade chair in Jewish Intellectual History, associate professor of classical Hebrew literature and interpretation, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. “In 1991, after four decades of limited access to the scrolls, scholars on the HUC-JIR Cincinnati campus helped make the content of these ancient texts available to the public at large. The arrival of the exhibition Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times provides a special opportunity for HUC-JIR and the greater Cincinnati community to continue their unique relationship with these historical treasures from the period that saw the rise of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.”

Special Dead Sea Scroll Lectures Nov. 18 at Cincinnati Museum Center

Debora Ben Ami, Israel Antiquities Authority

Jerusalem in the First Temple Period, the City of Kings, the City of God

1 p.m.

Pnina Shor, Israel Antiquities Authority

The Conservation and Preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls

3 p.m.

Visit www.cincymuseum.org for a full list of captivating Dead Sea Scroll programs!