San Diego--Dead Sea Scrolls highlight a visit to the San Diego Natural History Museum


The present Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum is an opportunity to look back over two millennium on writings that are as meaningful today as they were when first written in 250 BC. Here are manuscripts that not only relate the Hebrew Bible but also present glimpses of a people and their way of life two thousand years ago.

Twenty four Dead Sea Scrolls are included in this exhibit including one listing the Ten Commandments and another the Psalms, remarkably unchanged through two millennium.

Presentation of this exhibition takes one first on a Journey to the Dead Sea with a wonderful collection of stunning photographs by Israeli photographers. Then travel back in time to Qumran where the first Scrolls were found, first by a Bedouin herder, and then by archaeologists between 1947 and 1956.

The Scrolls are exhibited in special climatized cases and adjacent is an English translation of the text. The original manuscripts were found in thousands of fragments and it took years of patient effort to restore them to readable form. There is also a section of the copper scroll. Already over a quarter of a million people have viewed this, once in a lifetime, exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum. This Writer was most fortunate to have Delle Willett, Director of Marketing for the Museum, give us a personal tour of not only the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition but the entire museum.

The Dead Sea Scrolls will remain on exhibition at the Museum until December 31st of this year. It was arranged with the Israel Antiquities Authority. A special ticket is required for this exhibition and to enjoy and study what is available we recommend planning at least three hours for this Exhibition alone.

Large pottery jars originally stored The Scrolls and were hidden in caves stretching along the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea in Israel. Eleven caves in all. From the thousands of fragments over 900 documents have been restored.

Unfortunately we did not have the time to take the Virtual Reality tour of ancient Qumran, where the Scrolls were discovered, which is available at the 300 seat Kaplan theater.

Almost as popular as the Dead Seas exhibit is the Gift Shop which is currently offering books, scholarly texts, replicas of artifacts and jewelry of this period.

Our tour with Delle Willett told us that we would need more than one story to do justice to the other exciting exhibitions and the behind the scenes efforts of a very talented staff in restoring fossils of creatures that roamed Southern and Baja California 75 million years ago.

The San Diego Natural History Museum is located at 1788 El Prado in Balboa Park at the Village Place and Park Boulevard intersection. There is ample parking and we used the Number 7 bus from downtown San Diego. Call 619 232-3821 or check the web at www.sdnhm.org for information on hours and prices. The Museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

More on the San Diego Natural History Museum will appear in the next issue of Vittles.

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Last Update:12/1/07

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