Disappointing! That’s how I would describe seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Tonight, I met up with Susan, an old friend and fellow survivor of library school, to go and see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Omnitheater movie Arabia. Its always wonderful to see Susan (she was having a devastating week and I think getting away from the house, kids, pets, and significant other was good for her).
When I arrived at the Science Museum of Minnesota, I noticed right away there was something weird. In the parking ramp elevator there is a sign which says ‘bags would be searched.’ This is odd, as the museum has never searched bags before. So when I entered at the main doors, I was asked to open my purse. I asked the employee what was going on and did it concern the Dead Sea Scrolls and she said yes. My reply and yes I really did say this was, “Well that’s weird. You did not have bag searches at the Star Wars exhibit and most people would rather take home a Wookie than the Dead Sea Scrolls!” Then I laughed. Strangely, the employee did not laugh. Obviously not a Star Wars fan.
First up, was Arabia in the Omnitheater. It was a nice film. I did not learn anything new about Arabia and I was a bit disappointed on how they tended to gloss over some of the more controversial issues concerning Saudi Arabia. So lets just call it a politically correct family friendly film about Arabia.
Next up was the Dead Sea Scrolls. Susan and I picked up the hand held audio tour guides (which were FREEEE!) and we were told by the staff to turn off any cell phones and put away cameras. I guess the employee noticed me taking a photo of Susan. The exhibit is full of information, photos, dishes, jars, coins, fabrics, food remains, and a few ossuary’s, but they were all pretty dull. There was nothing exciting or exceptional about any of it, except for the fact that it was 2,000 years old (and in case you were wondering, there are actually a lot of artifacts still around from 2,000 years ago). The Dead Sea Scrolls on tour consisted of 5 little scrolls in a dark room and each scroll was housed in little boxes which were so dark you could not see the print.
My impression of the Dead Sea Scrolls? No Big deal. I was so excited about seeing them and in the end they were very disappointing. First, they displayed only five scrolls (out of the thousands they found) and you cannot even see the print. Then walking through the whole exhibit I kept wondering what was real and what was a forgery. I have read too many books on ancient artifacts over the past few years to know that a lot of stuff out there is just not real. But I am sure that all the artifacts in this exhibit were real.
At the very end of the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit there is a lovely exhibit of the Saint John’s Bible. It’s a beautiful bible and the best thing about the bible is that I actually got to touch a page last summer (I was at manuscript camp at St. John’s and we were all allowed to touch the very edge which had not yet been trimmed off).
So overall the evening was very fun because I got to go to the Science Museum of Minnesota, which is an awesome museum and has dinosaurs all over the place, and I got to have a nice visit with a good friend. Plus on the way home I stopped at the gourmet candy store called Candyland in St. Paul and bought some of their Chicago Mix popcorn and chocolate covered potato chips. Yummy!