October 8, 2013

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Museum of Science in Boston currently has an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls and life in ancient Israel.  Our freshmen are studying the Old Testament in theology class so we thought it would be an ideal field trip for them.  We also brought along the freshmen science teachers to make it a combined theology/science trip.

We left Trinity around 8am and it took about 2 hours to get into Boston because of the traffic.  Our first scheduled group tour was at 9:50am so we had to make some last minute changes but it all worked out.  Some groups began going in at 11:10am and others went in every ten minutes after.  If a group wasn't in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit they were able to tour around the other parts of the museum.  My group spent time in the electricity room and then in the area that measures velocity, weight, etc. in a playground type setting.  The kids had a blast.

Our group went into the Dead Sea Scrolls at 11:40am and it began with a brief talk with an accompanying video.  The video was on multiple screens and was fact paced and moving so kids would be into it.  You then entered into the exhibit which had timelines, artifacts, videos, etc. on ancient Israel.  I used to teach freshmen theology so the exhibit brought back a ton of memories for me, I love this period in history.  The parts of the scrolls themselves were in a large circular display and was next to a replica of the Western Wall where you could write prayers and place them in the wall.  Those prayers are later sent to the actual Western Wall in Jerusalem.  They also had a live webcam of the Western Wall and the people praying there.

One item that struck me in particular was a coin from about 200 BC.  Items like this are so neat, I think, because it would be the equivalent of someone looking at the dime that's in my pocket right now 2,000 years from now and being fascinated.  I was picturing the person(s) who used this coin, the person(s) holding it, and the items it bought.  To think I was looking at something a regular Joe was holding over 2,000 years ago was mind blowing to me.

After our tour the kids had lunch and got some last looks around the museum and the store.  We were back on the road by 1pm and at Trinity before 2pm.  It got some of us thinking that we should do more class centered, interdisciplinary field trips like this.  The Currier Galley here in Manchester, for example, has an exhibit on Vietnam War pictures which we could incorporate into a field trip for our juniors who are studying US History and Literature.  What I noticed especially about the freshmen is how much fun they had today, I think that is something that is very important to provide for the kids.  We certainly want them to have fun, not see school as a prison or lifeless!

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