Bible Land Museum Continues to Teach Visitors about Religion and Heritage
Though there are a lot of museums in the world, only a few are well maintained, visited by droves of both local and foreign tourists. Only a number also have a sense of direction and purpose. The Bible Lands Museum in Israel is one of them.
For our news on Israel, we’re going to tackle about the Bible Lands Museum (BLM) and its growing positive influence not only on the adults but also on the children, especially those who still need to be acquainted to their own religion and heritage.
The Birth of the Museum
The story of the museum began when the wise Elie Borowski, who was born in Poland. Unlike most of the men his age, he was always after new knowledge, which led him to various prestigious universities. However, during the onset of the Holocaust, he was forced to move back to Switzerland and stayed there until the liberation. When the war was over, he lost everything except what he had learned. He then used it to work on ancient inscriptions, specializing in Biblical artifacts.
In over half a millennium, he was able to accumulate a vast collection of arts and items relating to the Biblical era and the Ancient Near East. By 1981, he met his future wife, Batya, in Jerusalem during an exhibition. She encouraged him to open a museum to house his private collection. In 1992, after a series of setbacks and a strong support from Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem’s former mayor, the museum was opened to the public.
The museum holds both current and permanent exhibits. The latter still contains the collections owned by Borowski. All of them are divided into 20 galleries, arranged according to chronology. So the first gallery is entitled Hunter to Urban Dweller while the last so far is the Sassanian Mesopotamia, which contains bowls with Jewish incantations. Other galleries are Hellenistic Dominions, Splendor of Persia, Assyria: Rod of My Anger, Israel among the Nations, and Stones of Aram.
The museum administration has also prepared a variety of activities, particularly for the kids. The Tower of Babel Exhibit, for example, is made even more interactive with Little Shamshi, also known as the “animated wanderer.” The activity, which is targeted for kids who are 9 years old and above, aims to walk through the guests to the tale of the Tower of Babel and then into the various cultures in history.
The Race for Gold is also popular among the children. It’s a special treasure hunt that takes the participants not only inside the museum but all over Jerusalem as they try to figure out mysteries or solve riddles. This is also a good way to bond with the family or with colleagues.
There are also several weekly lectures headed by renowned scholars not only in Israel but all over the world, such as Kuntillet Arjud. However, most of these have limited seats, so participants are encouraged to buy their tickets beforehand.
Bar and Bat mitzvahs can also serve as guides during certain points in the tour.