The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Ancient World

 27 Aug to 20 Sep 2009
The month-long Dead Sea Scrolls and the Ancient World exhibition at The Arts House presents original scrolls and precious bibles dated up to 5,000 years ago. An interesting and informative exhibit indeed but still, it falls short of the expectations generated with being the first in Asia and in Singapore to see over a hundred important artifacts from 50 centuries ago - one of the most important archaeological finds in the 20th Century.

On exhibit are over a hundred artifacts, such as rare bibles, pottery and coins, that have last through natural disasters and wars. Some highlights include the Manuscript Hebrew Esther Megillah, the Holocaust Survivor Scroll of almost 500 years, and the 250-year-old Rabbi Personal Scroll.

But despite staring hard and long at the harmless looking pieces of ancient parchment, each word neatly written and surely painstakingly copied by hand, it is still hard to imagine the fact that they are evidence of a time so old and a history so amazing. So, take a moment to read the stories behind each and every one of the artifacts and think about the historical implications they bring instead of hurrying along. 

One interesting comment overheard was that the artifacts were surprisingly not as well-guarded or protected as expected. There were no special equipment to protect them but for a simple glass encasing display that seems ignorant of the value of its contents. Signs explaining artifacts usually printed on thick form cards were instead printed on plain white paper.

More importantly, main exhibits pieces like the prized scrolls and certain rare bibles are not on permanent display but only brought around periodically by curators and staff who would show it to visitors who are lucky enough to bump into them.

Nonetheless, it is an admirable effort in depicting how the bible was translated from Latin to other languages like English, copied and spread throughout the world, how it has evolved over its long history and the influence of biblical patriarchs with the likes of important people such as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Desiderius Erasmus and more.

Christians or not, it is an exhibition that chronicles the story of the most popular and to some, the most important book on Earth and should interest all. It is one book that stood the amazing test of time and survived with sacrifices made by important scholars such as William Tyndale whom last words were "Lord, open the eyes of the King of England".

Thoughtful arrangements are made for everyone. There are guided tours for Chinese speakers and an English three-part lecture in the exhibition rooms on the second level. On the first level, there is a screening room which gives visitors a short 10-minute preview of exhibition before they move on to the three exhibition rooms and an activity room above. Seats are provided for elderly visitors who tire quickly and the activity room captures the attention of kids.

The Arts House

1 Old Parliament Lane
Singapore 179429
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Telephone (65) 6332 6919

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Opening hours
10am - 10pm daily

Adult: S$18 (weekdays), S$20 (weekend & PH)
Youth (12-17): S$15 (weekdays), S$18 (weekend & PH)
Senior Citizen (ID required): S$13.50 (weekdays), S$15 (weekend & PH)
Children (6-11): S$13.50 (weekdays), S$15 (weekend & PH)
For group prices and/or more ticketing information, click

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