Rooms & Exhibits
The museum is organized into three areas:
OLD TESTAMENT ROOM
CASE A1. EARLY CANAANITE PERIOD
This case displays artifacts from the earliest periods of Canaan’s history, including the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Ages (before 3200 B.C.), and the Early Bronze Age (3200-2200 B.C.). The Early Bronze Age people lived in fortified cities and built temples, palaces, and other public buildings. Their ethnic identity is unknown. During this period, cuneiform (“wedge-shaped”) writing developed in Mesopotamia, and the pyramids were built in Egypt. Highlights: Neolithic arrowhead from Jericho; Chalcolithic milk churn; Sumerian cuneiform tablet.
CASE A2. MIDDLE CANAANITE PERIOD
This case contains artifacts from 2200-1550 B.C. During Middle Bronze I (2200-2000 B.C.) Canaan was inhabited by tent-dwelling people (Amorites?) who used bronze weapons and tools, made pottery partially on a fast wheel, and used 4-spouted lamps. Abraham may have migrated to Canaan during this period.
In the Middle Bronze II period (2000-1550 B.C.), Canaanites inhabited the land. They lived in cities fortified by huge walls built on top of steeply sloping ramparts, and they spoke a language almost identical to Hebrew. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob may have lived in the land during the first half of this period, and during the second half the Israelites were living in Egypt. Highlights: Sumerian medical tablet; 4-spouted and 1-spouted lamps; and a set of cuneiform tablets from the area of Ur, possibly Abraham’s homeland (on the wall above the case).
CASE A3. LATE CANAANITE PERIOD
The Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 B.C.) was a continuation of the Middle Bronze Age. Joshua and the Israelites probably entered Canaan during this period. Highlights: Egyptian scarab seal with Pharaoh Thutmose III’s name; “pilgrim flasks”; and “bilbils” (for opium-laced beverages?).
CASE A4. ISRAELITE PERIOD
The period from 1200 to 586 B.C. is known as the Iron Age, because during this time iron superceded bronze as the most popular metal for weapons and tools. During this period the Israelites gradually gained control of Canaan. In the Iron I period (1200-1000 B.C.) the Judges (including Gideon and Samson) ruled over Israel; and the Iron II period (1000-586 B.C.) saw the rise of the United Monarchy under David and Solomon, and the Divided Monarchy, which finally ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Highlights: eye mascara applicator; set of shekel weights, including a “cheater’s weight”; and a set of bronze cymbals.
CASE A5. OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS
This case displays artifacts that illustrate the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, including Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. Highlights: Jar handles with King Hezekiah’s seal; sacrificial animal bones from the high place at Dan; an inscribed brick from a temple in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon; and a cooking pot and decanter like those mentioned in Jeremiah 1 and 19.
CASE A6. WEAPONS AND WARFARE
In this case are artifacts illustrating warfare during the Old Testament period. Highlights: arrow heads, spear points, swords, daggers, mace heads, axe heads, and sling stones (with a reconstructed sling). On the wall above the case are three bronze swords from the Old Testament period.
NEW TESTAMENT ROOM
CASE B1. LIFE OF JESUS
This case features artifacts illustrating the life and ministry of Jesus. Highlights: coins of Herod the Great; “widow’s mite”; coins issued by Pontius Pilate in 29, 30, and 31 A.D.; crucifixion-type nail; pair of dice; alabaster perfume jar; 1st century Roman spear blade; fishing net needle; fishing hook; and a cup.
CASE B2. EVERYDAY LIFE IN NEW TESTAMENT TIMES
Displayed in this case are artifacts from everyday life in Israel during the Roman period, including housewares, tableware, and tools from various occupations. Highlights: spoon and fork set; medical instruments; tanning knife; a merchant’s weight; lamps; and a set of mosaic tiles from a Roman period floor in Jerusalem.
CASE B3. CLASSICAL GREEK CULTURE
The Roman period in Israel was profoundly influenced by the earlier Greek culture which had flourished throughout the Near East. The painted, black-glazed pottery of the Greeks represents the zenith of ancient pottery making. In this display are various exquisite Greek vessels. Also displayed here are some museum reproductions of vases and jars from the Minoan and Greek civilizations.
CASE B4. FIVE STYLES OF TABLEWARE
In this case are five styles of tableware that Jesus and his disciples would have undoubtedly used, including: Hellenistic Black Ware; Glassware; Hellenistic Red Ware; Roman Red Ware; and Common Palestinian Ware.
CASE B5. OIL LAMPS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WORLD
Olive oil lamps came in a variety of shapes and styles during the Roman era. In this case are samples
of various kinds of lamps used throughout the Roman empire, as well as a lamp mold used to mass
CASE B6. MINISTRIES OF THE APOSTLES
This case contains artifacts illustrating the ministries of the Apostles and New Testament writers, including Peter, John, James, Paul, and Luke. Highlights: Roman inkwell and writing stylus; Greek papyrus fragment; coins of Herod Agrippa and Felix; medical instruments; and a fragment of a water fountain from Laodicea.
CASE B7. ROMAN GLASSWARE
Glass blowing was discovered in the 1st century B.C. Soon glass became almost as common as pottery. This case displays a variety of Roman glassware.
CASE B8. GEMS AND STONES
This case presents modern examples of some of the precious and semi-precious gems and stones mentioned in the Bible.
CASE B9. EVERYDAY ROMAN TABLEWARE
On display in this case are various kinds of everyday tableware used by Jewish people in Jesus’ time, including cups, bowls, pitchers, jugs, and jars.
CASE B10. COINS AND SMALL OBJECTS
Coins were first minted several centuries before Christ but became exceedingly common during the Roman period. This case displays examples of Roman period coins as well as other small objects, including a sampling of typical pottery sherds that might be found in an archaeological excavation. On the wall above is a coin map, presenting coins minted in 46 of the cities mentioned in the New Testament.
CASE B11. WOMEN’S LIVES
Women are mentioned frequently in the New Testament. This case presents artifacts illustrating women’s lives in the Roman world. Highlights: rings, earrings, necklaces, eye mascara applicator, tweezers, thimble, cooking pot, grinding mill, loom weight, spindle whorl, and some embroidered fabric.
In the vestibule are a selection of large storage jars from Old and New Testament periods, various wall displays, and a case displaying oil lamps from all periods of history.