Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition

at the California Science Center on March 10, 2015

Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition

Discover the Most Significant Archeological Find of the Last Century at the California Science Center on March 10, 2015

Los Angeles, CA (February 13, 2015) – The California Science Center in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority is proud to present “Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition”, the largest of its kind ever mounted outside of Israel, featuring over 600 ancient artifacts. Opening March 10, 2015 at the California Science Center, the exhibition explores the science and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts composed, copied and hidden in caves 2000 years ago. Over half of the scrolls on display have never before been seen in the US, and some have never been exhibited since their discovery. The Los Angeles presentation is made possible with generous support from presenting sponsors The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Jewish Life Television and the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles.

Of special interest will be sections from ten of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including parts of the oldest discovered copies of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. The fragmentary scrolls in the exhibition contain passages from Genesis, Isaiah, Psalms, and even, an ancient marriage contract dated to the 1st century CE. Visitors will experience the Dead Sea Scrolls within the rich historical and cultural context of ancient Israel. Through multimedia exhibits, guests will explore the science and technology used to date, assemble and preserve these ancient manuscripts for future generations.

Additional highlights include a 3-ton stone from Jerusalem's Western Wall, limestone capitals from the First Temple period (1000-586 BCE), ossuaries (ancient bone boxes) from the early Roman period, and a signature preserved for millennia on the unique Archer Seal.  Among the over 600 artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period in Israel are examples of delicate jewelry, pottery shards bearing royal seals, weapons including sling-stones and arrowheads, and many objects excavated from active archaeological sites in Israel.

“Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition” is created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) from the collections of the Israel National Treasures and features the most comprehensive collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever organized. Presenting sponsors of “Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition” are The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Jewish Life Television and the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, with additional support from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation, the Herta Amir and Paul Amir Foundation, the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation, former member of the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors—Zev Yaroslavsky (District 3), the Teichman Family Charitable Foundation, Irwin S. Field, the Max Webb Foundation and Barry and Mireille Wolfe.

“This exhibition demonstrates a remarkable blend of science and history,” said California Science Center President, Jeffrey Rudolph. “Cutting-edge conservation technology will allow our guests to see the most significant archeological find of the last century.”

"We can only piece together the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life or ancient written documents," said Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, Professor at San Diego State University and one of the exhibition curators. "This exhibition reveals in ancient pots, coins, weapons, jewelry, and handwritten texts, a record of extraordinary human achievement constituting a significant contribution to our own cultural legacy."

The many highlights of the archaeological materials in the exhibition include the following: 

  • A female figurine believed to represent Asherah, whom ancient Israelites may have thought to be the consort to the god of Israel
  • Arrowheads and sling-stones from Lachish, the site of a fierce battle between Israelites and Assyrians
  • A storage jar stamped with a seal indicating that it belonged to royalty
  • Ossuaries, or small stone boxes, that once contained human bones — three by coincidence, bear the names Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, names commonly used in the years preceding Christianity
  • A finely wrought 2,000-year-old gold earring inlaid with pearls.

The centerpiece of “Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition” will be the presentation of 20 texts (ten scrolls at a time, in two rotations) that are part of the remarkably preserved trove known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls date from 250 BCE to 68 CE and were discovered in a group of caves near Khirbet Qumran, close to the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Most of the texts are written in Hebrew, though some are in Aramaic and Greek.

The first cache of scrolls was discovered in 1947 when a Bedouin shepherd casually tossed a rock into a cave and heard a pot shatter. Over the following eight years, archaeologists and Bedouin found thousands of parchment fragments in eleven caves, including the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible. Scholars pieced the parchments together, some no larger than a postage stamp, during the decades that followed. An exhibition video reveals fascinating details of the discovery and ongoing conservation of the scrolls.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Judaism at San Diego State University; and Ms. Debora Ben Ami, Iron Age Curator, Israeli Antiquities Authority.

To enhance their experience, Science Center visitors are encouraged to view JERUSALEM 3D, premiering at the California Science Center IMAX® Theater on March 10, 2015. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game,” "Star Trek into the Darkness," PBS’s "Sherlock"), this giant screen film adventure immerses audiences in a cinematic journey—soaring high above the Holy Land and plunging deep into the vibrant Old City— to experience iconic sites cherished by billions, and explore on a grand scale the intersection of science, history and religion in this ancient, enigmatic place. JERUSALEM 3D is an original production from Cosmic Picture and Arcane Pictures, and distributed by National Geographic Studios, with a run time of 43-minutes.

About the California Science Center and Ticket Information

The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films.

The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Please check the Science Center web site for schedule updates. Tickets for Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition are currently on sale. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets online at www.californiasciencecenter.org to reserve an entry date & time. The general information number is (323) SCIENCE. Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition admission prices are $19.75­­­ for adults 18-59, $16.75 for youth 13 to 17, college students with I.D. & seniors 60+, and $12.75 for children 4 - 12. Member discount rates are $12.75 for adults, $11.75 for youth 13 to 17, college students with I.D. & seniors 60+, and $10.75 for children 4-12. Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition and IMAX combination ticket prices are $26.00 for adults 18-59, $21.25 for youth 13-17, college students with I.D. and seniors 60+, and $16.25 for children 4-12. Member discount rates for combo tickets are $18.25 for adults, $15.25 for youth 13 to 17, college students with I.D. & seniors 60+, and $13.75 for children 4-12. Special rates for schools and other groups of 15 and over apply. The exhibit's special group information number is (213) 744-2019. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Admission to all other Science Center exhibits is free. More information is also available at www.californiasciencecenter.org

Go Metro to the California Science Center. Ride the Expo Line to the Expo Park/USC Station. For the best route, use the Metro Trip Planner at www.metro.net.

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