The David A. Dorsey Museum of Biblical Archaeology was created in 1980 by the generosity of Alan and Muriel Pense and the dedicated work of Dr. David A. Dorsey, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament of Evangelical Seminary. The museum contains nearly 500 archaeological artifacts from the lands of the Bible. The Dorsey Museum is designed to give visitors a window into everyday life in ancient Israel in order to better understand the books of the Old and New Testaments. The artifacts date from all periods of ancient history, and come from all parts of the Biblical world.
The nature and scope of the collection make it an invaluable and unique resource in Central Pennsylvania for interested members of the community and for students of Evangelical Seminary, who enjoy easy access to the museum on the Seminary’s campus. Every book of the Bible is touched by it in one way or another, and visitors have the unique opportunity to touch and hold ancient artifacts that date to the time of the Bible.
- Exhibit A: Archaeological Periods of the Biblical World: This exhibit area displays artifacts from the major periods of biblical history in chronological order, starting before Abraham’s time with the Early Bronze Age case (and earlier) and ending with the time of the early church in the Roman Period.
- Exhibit B: Land of the Bible: This area uses maps and pictures of Israel and the ancient Near East and Mediterranean regions to orient visitors to the geography of ancient Israel and her neighbors. Artifacts from Israel’s neighboring nations and pictures of the various regions of Israel, main agricultural products, and yearly climactic cycle help describe the setting of the Biblical world.
- Other exhibits of the lobby room include a history of the Dorsey Museum and two central cases devoted to special exhibits.
Maurer Exhibit Room:
- Exhibit A: Israelite House: A scaled-down reconstruction of a typical Israelite house from the Old Testament period.
- Exhibit B: Everyday Life in the Biblical World: An illustration of the everyday activities of a typical person in the historical periods of the Old and New Testaments. Includes Everyday Life in the Old and New Testaments, Women’s Lives, Trades and Professions, and Life of Jesus and the Apostles.
- Exhibit C: Empires and Kingdoms: Illustrates aspects of the Israelite and Judean kingdoms, as well as the empires of Assyria, Babylonia, and Rome. Section includes Weapons and Warfare, Kings and Prophets, and Economy and Trade.
- Exhibit D: Writing in the Biblical World: Documents in the museum collection include Sumerian and Akkadian tablets from Mesopotamia (3rd millennium B.C.), Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Koine Greek written on papyrus with a stylus and ink, and a portion of the Hebrew Bible written on a gazelle-skin scroll from a Jewish community in Yemen from the 1700’s A.D.
Brandt Classroom Exhibits:
- Exhibit A: The Work of Archaeology: Illustrates the work of biblical archaeology.
- Exhibit B: The Use of Pottery in Archaeology: Highlights the importance of pottery and all ceramics in the work of archaeology.
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