No matter what your religious beliefs, it’s hard to dispute the historical and literary significance of the Bible. It has long been a topic for debate and discussion and its history is fascinating. Now, the general public has a chance to examine the Bible in detail, thanks to a new interactive exhibition called Passages, which will remain in Atlanta for another four months. The Atlanta exhibit is part of a collection of works of historical and biblical significance collected by Steve Green, president of the Hobby Lobby stores chain. The ultimate goal of the Green family is a permanent national museum for the collection –
billed the largest of its kind in the world.
Passages provides us with a chance to travel through the Bible’s history. The interactive show features ancient samples of Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant treasures. The exhibit includes the second-largest collection of Dead Sea Scrolls and the world’s largest collection of Jewish scrolls. There are 450 rare biblical texts and artifacts among the 23,000 square feet of exhibits. Each room depicts a different period of the Bible’s history, and the story is told with a variety of modern technology to accentuate the ancient texts.
Visitors can opt to enjoy all of this with an iPod-guided tour provided by the voice of Dr. Scott Carroll, a scholar of ancient and medieval manuscripts who is director of this collection. “Louie the Lion” is the children’s version of the iPod guide in the form of a scavenger hunt – complete with a prize at the end. While kid-friendly, parental assistance may still be needed so that your child can have the best experience possible. Kids have a chance to print with blocks, work with a replica of the Guttenberg printing press, decorate pages, and even try copying script just as monks would have done during the Middle Ages. There are animatronics that tell the stories in a way that captures a child’s attention. Starting this month, there will be a Passages lecture series that is free to the public, although seat reservations are required.
– Jennifer Bonn