Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver & Latin Life America Media (see photos gallery below)
A unique once in a lifetime opportunity opens today at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls currently on display at the museum may be the last time these scrolls and accompanying artifacts may be seen anywhere in the United States for possibly a generation or more and anywhere in the world for years to come. Denver is the seventh and last stop for the exhibit.
The regional premiere of this exhibition is an incredible opportunity to see authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that include the oldest known biblical documents dating back over 2,000 years. The scrolls are dramatically presented within a massive exhibit case featuring carefully regulated individual chambers, along with the full English translation.
In addition, more than 600 authentic artifacts from the ancient Middle East — including weapons, stone carvings, terra cotta figurines, remains of religious symbols, coins, shoes, textiles, mosaics, ceramics, jewelry and a three-ton stone from the Western Wall in Jerusalem — will immerse you in historic traditions and beliefs that continue to impact world cultures today.
Ten scrolls are displayed as part of the exhibition. Due to strict preservation requirements, 10 different scrolls will arrive halfway through the run to replace the 10 initial scrolls. This will make it possible to see a total of 20 scrolls while the exhibition is in Denver. Each rotation includes a scroll that has never before been on public display.
In addition, more than 600 artifacts from the ancient Middle East will immerse guests in historic traditions and beliefs that continue to impact world cultures today. The authentic objects include inscriptions and seals, weapons, stone carvings, terra cotta figurines, remains of religious symbols, coins, shoes, textiles, mosaics, ceramics, jewelry and a three-ton stone from the Western Wall in Jerusalem that fell in 70 CE. The exhibition is organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
The Dead Sea Scrolls represent one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. As the story goes, in 1947 young Bedouin goatherders wandered into a cave along the shore of the Dead Sea, near the site of the ancient site of Qumran, perhaps in search of a stray goat. Whatever the reason, they made a remarkable discovery. They found an assortment of clay jars, inside of which were scrolls wrapped in linen. Over the next nine years, archaeologists and Bedouins searched the surrounding caves. After extensive excavation, more than 900 remarkably preserved scrolls were recovered, leading to decades of extraordinary scrutiny, preservation, debate and awe, providing an incredible window to the past.
“We are so excited to have this exhibit here in Denver and to be able to share it with everyone who would like to view it” said Gabriela Chavarria, Vice President & Chief Curator of Research & Collections for the museum. “It has taken 11 years to get this exhibit here and so much work has gone into making that happen in terms of guaranteeing the security of the artifacts as well as their preservation.” Chavarria said, telling Latin Life Denver “We really want the Latino community to come out and see this. We believe they will get so much insight in the religious and historical aspects of Christianity and how it relates to them.”
Debora Ben Ami, Senior Curator of the Iron Age & Persian Periods Treasures Department in Jerusalem told Latin Life Media that it takes 43 huge crates to meticulously ship the exhibit with great care. Special conditions must be met in order to display the scrolls, some of which have never been seen before anywhere in the world. The scrolls can only be shown for certain periods of time and then must be stored and other artifacts rotated in. Special climate control conditions must be met so that we can preserve them for another 2,000 years she said.
“Dead Sea Scrolls,” the exhibition that has captivated millions will be on display at the Denver Museum of
Nature & Science through September 3, 2018. The presenting sponsor is the Sturm Family Foundation, with major support from Henry and Lorie Gordon, and GHP Investment Advisors.
Tickets are available at 303.370.6000 or dmns.org/deadseascrolls. Guests pay $25.95 adult, $21.95 senior
(age 65+), $17.95 junior (ages 3 – 18). Students receive 10% off adult admission with their ID. All tickets
include general Museum admission. Museum members receive discounted admission to the exhibition.
Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations are strongly encouraged.
Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver & Latin Life America Media