On its way to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which is being built by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green for $400 million, visitors will find the largest collection of exported Israeli artifacts found on the planet.
Slated to open its doors in 2017 after its groundbreaking earlier this year in February, the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible will house Israeli artifacts that include pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, tablets from Abraham’s time and biblical papyri.
The head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) National Treasures Department, Micky Saban, announced on Wednesday that the antiquities being shipped from the Holy Land to the United States capital will comprise of artifacts from the First and Second Temples described in the Bible, as well as antiquities excavated that date back to the Canaanite period, TheBlaze.com reports.
After reaching an agreement with the D.C. museum being created by the Oklahoma crafts and hobby store chain philanthropist, the IAA reports that its huge collection of biblical artifacts found in Israel will be displayed in the nation’s capital “for decades,” under the care of American museum officials.
One of the greatest Bible shows on earth?
Included in the extensive display will be seals and seal impressions from the First Temple period, glassware from the Second Temple period, jewelry, figurines, and stone alabaster vessels. One of the 2,700-year-old clay seals unearthed by Jerusalem archaeologists is said to be the oldest item ever discovered in the region bearing an inscription of Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ was born.
The 5,300-square-foot exhibition at the museum is touted as the largest collection of Israeli artifacts ever sent overseas.
IAA Director Israel Hasson anticipated more than 4.5 million visitors will visit the D.C. museum annually in an interview Wednesday with Israel Radio.
Holograms and virtual reality will be among the cutting-edge technology used to wow museum visitors and provide them with unforgettable visuals depicting accounts described in the Bible, noted one IAA press release.
Hasson expressed that the Bible history being exported will create an experience that will make biblical accounts more real for observers.
“The historic collaboration of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Museum of the Bible will serve as a showcase for the nation’s treasures and excite millions of visitors each year as they meet tangible evidence from archaeology and the history of the land of Israel — the cradle of Old and New Testaments,” Hasson stated, noting that the most recent Holy Land discoveries will be on display close to the entrance of the museum.
Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers said that when the museum opens in 2017, the Bible will be experienced like never before.
“When we set out to build the most advanced museum in the world, we knew we could do even better if we joined forces with one of the greatest collections in the world,” Summers proclaimed at the announcement. “[This collaboration sets a new standard for a museum experience] … the likes of which have not yet been seen.”
An experience not even Israelis can see
Approximately 40,000 objects will be found on display in a couple years at the museum founded by the Green family that sits just walking distance from the National Mall. Also included in the mix are Torah scrolls and rare printed Bibles.
Saban says that the huge collection will showcase rare items that even Israelis cannot see, as many of the Israeli artifacts have never been showcased in Israel because there is simply not enough space to display them there.
“We will have a central stage to show items that offer a glimpse not only into the day-to-day lives of those living in the area during the time of the Old and New Testaments, but also their rituals and how they expressed their spirituality,” Saban told Israel Radio.
Mounting evidence against anti-Israel pressure
Despite ongoing excavations that have revealed Israel’s rich biblical history, resistance to the archaeology-backed evidence is rife in the region — and in America.
“The Palestinian Authority as a matter of policy rejects Israel’s historical connection to the Holy Land,” TheBlaze.com’s Sharona Schwartz reports. “Both Palestinian and Muslim organizations regularly accuse Israel of ‘Judaizing Jerusalem.’ The frequent discovery of archaeological artifacts believed to be tied to the Bible, including in the West Bank areas known as Judea and Samaria, belie the claims that Jews have no historical ties to Israel.”
Even though the Museum of the Bible — located not far from the White House — will be displaying artifacts proving Israel as God’s Holy Land, as depicted in the Bible, administrations from both parties have put pressure on Israel to give the Palestinians the remainder of the West Bank in an effort to reach a peace agreement. The Obama administration has pushed in recent years for Israel to concede its biblical-rich capital of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority to in a longstanding plan to set up a Palestinian State.