Bible museum in U.S. will display rare items

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Bible museum in U.S. will display rare items

WASHINGTON - The Museum of the Bible being built in Washington will feature ancient artifacts and treasures from the Holy Land under a new deal that ensures Israel’s leading archaeological organization will have an outpost in the U.S. capital.

An agreement between the museum and the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday will bring a selection of artifacts excavated in Israel for long-term display in a top-floor gallery at the new Bible museum. The $400 million, eight-story museum is set to open near the National Mall in the heart of the capital in 2017.

The specific artifacts to be displayed in Washington haven’t been settled, officials said, though they will be related to the Bible.

Plans call for both a permanent exhibition and rotating special exhibits.

Researchers and curators from the Israeli authority will write the exhibition text based on their research from numerous excavations in the field, and the museum will design the exhibit, said Jacob Fisch, the executive director of the New York-based Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

While the Israeli group has a long-term loan arrangement with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to display about 30 objects, the Bible museum exhibit will include hundreds or even thousands of objects from Israel’s two million artifacts.

The Museum of the Bible already holds a collection of about 40,000 objects from its founder, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green. The Green Collection includes rare biblical texts and artifacts, such as cuneiform tablets dating to the time of Abraham, Torah scrolls and rare printed Bibles.

The museum also is beginning its own archaeological dig at Tel-Shimron, a historic site in Israel. AP

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