February 20th 2015
Have you heard of the Canaanites, Egyptians, Hittites, Persians and Philistines but have little grasp of who they actually were or what their cultures were like? The Bible Lands Museum explores how the various peoples mentioned in the Bible, including the ancient Hebrews, actually lived. This may be the best place in the world to gain a better understanding of the societies of the ancient Near East.
A classic museum brimming with antiquities, artifacts, maps and educational exhibits, the Bible Lands Museum brings the dawn of civilization back to life. The museum, located in Givat Ram on Jerusalem’s “Museum Row,” was first opened to the public in 1992.
The permanent exhibition here includes an introductory gallery followed by 20 satellite galleries, each focused on a specific geographical area or historical time period. Several galleries focus on Jewish history in the Land of Israel, including galleries eight and nine, which cover the life of the Patriarch Abraham; gallery ten, which covers the exodus from Egypt; gallery 14, which encompasses the First Temple period; and gallery 18, which covers the Second Temple Period, the beginnings of Christianity and the rise of Roman rule over the land.
Since the museum covers such a wide expanse of time and geography, the staff here has developed an array of theme-based guided tours. All guided tours must be scheduled in advance. By the Rivers of Babylon considers how the Babylonian Exile, which followed the destruction of the First Temple, impacted the Jewish People. There is a special 30-minute tour of Christian interest called From the Chosen Father to the Chosen Son, which helps visitors better understand the historical beginnings of Judaism and Christianity. In the Footsteps of the Patriarchs covers Abraham, the culture in which he was raised, his journey to the Promised Land and his religious ideals. This tour also covers Egypt during the time thar Jacob and his sons dwelled there, before the Israelites became slaves. The role and status of women in the ancient Near East is explored in a tour called And God Made Woman… This tour focuses on artifacts that explore the concepts of beauty, motherhood, fertility and war that are commonly associated with women.
The museum also hosts concerts, lectures, and children’s activities, and the museum shop offers creative gifts for the home, including reproductions of artifacts from the museum’s collection.