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    Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit coming to San Diego


    Tickets for the Dead Sea Scrolls – the largest, most comprehensive exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls ever assembled, which opens on June 29, 2007 – are now on sale. The exhibition includes authentic scrolls, illuminated biblical manuscripts, ancient artifacts, landscape and aerial photography, and interactive displays about science, discovery, and exploration. Thanks to the generosity of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), 24 Dead Sea Scrolls, 10 exhibited for the first time ever, will be on display over the course of the exhibition. Tickets and more information are available at

    ³We are especially honored to host 10 scrolls for the first time ever,² said Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, a biblical scholar and associate professor at San Diego State University¹s Religious Studies department, who will be directing the educational programming surrounding the exhibition and assisting the San Diego Natural History Museum in curating the exhibition. ³The revenue generated by their being exhibited in San Diego means that they will be conserved properly for the first time. In addition, these scrolls can be exhibited around the world from hereafter.²

     ³We expect that this cultural event will be a magnet for visitors from all around California and the entire Southwest,² said Dr. Michael Hager, executive director of the Natural History Museum. ³The opportunity for us to host a world-class exhibition is one that we take on with great pride and excitement. This will be an unforgettable event for San Diego.²

    The museum is the only California destination for the Dead Sea Scrolls slated and the only venue that will host a six-month showing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to encounter one of the most significant collections of ancient documents and artifacts ever assembled. Objects of great mystery, intrigue and significance, the scrolls continue to captivate audiences around the world. The Museum anticipates attendance anywhere from 400,000+ over the six-month period.

     ³The magnitude of the scroll discovery is remarkable,² says Levitt Kohn. ³These are the oldest discovered copies of the books of the Hebrew Bible. They shed light on life, faith and culture in ancient Israel. The six-month exhibition window, in particular, is a great coup for San Diego and California.²

    The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating from 250 BCE-68 CE, are indisputably one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time. Discovered beginning in 1947 in 11 caves along the shores of the Dead Sea in Israel, the scrolls are a bridge to the period when the foundations of western civilization were being laid. These ancient manuscripts embody universal values, and bring a vanished world to life.

    Exhibition highlights include: scrolls of the biblical books of Leviticus, Isaiah, Job and others; scrolls such as the Damascus Document and the War Scroll highlighting the life and thoughts of the Qumran community; Psalms scrolls containing passages from liturgy still in use today; a section of the Copper Scroll from Jordan, the only Dead Sea Scroll inscribed on copper; the best preserved of all Deuteronomy manuscripts containing the text of the Ten Commandments; and scrolls written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

    The exhibition will also explore the science of the scrolls, investigating scroll preservation, DNA and chemical analysis, infrared technology, Carbon-14 dating, document reconstitution, and the Dead Sea and San Diego County Mediterranean climates-without which the scrolls might never have been preserved.

    Together with the Dead Sea Scrolls, the museum plans to exhibit additional artifacts including scroll jars, textiles, pottery, ancient coins, leather sandals, an inkwell, large photographs, models of the settlement of Qumran, and archeological instruments from the original excavation. ³Our goal is to present these ancient scrolls within the context of their period which may be fairly described as the wellspring from which Judaism and Christianity were born,² said Levitt Kohn.

    Alongside these artifacts, visitors will see additional ancient manuscripts from the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, the Russian National Library, the British National Library, the École Biblique in Jerusalem and more. These materials will help trace the story of the transmission of the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran all the way up to our present day.

     The museum will offer a robust educational program which will include 22 lectures by world-class scholars and archaeologists, films, classes, audio tours (Spanish and English, included in the price of admission), and education travel tours to Israel. Additionally, a curriculum will be prepared for use in schools, home schools, synagogues and churches. In collaboration, the San Diego Zoo, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and the San Diego Museum of Man are developing complementary exhibits and programs.

    Most admission tickets range from $20-$28. There are discounts for members, seniors, students, military and groups. Admission includes exhibitions offered in other areas of the museum. Visit for more information. Group tour operators may arrange for on-site boxed lunches.

    Located in Balboa Park at the intersection of Village Place and Park Boulevard, the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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