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Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times

New York, New York

“Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times” was a traveling exhibition that appeared in seven major U.S. cities. It tells the story of how, 2,000 years ago, in the rugged terrain on the northern shores of the Dead Sea, a group of people hid a vast and varied library of religious writings in 11 remote caves. These were discovered in the Judean Desert in 1947.

RAA designed a series of galleries that delved into the past to explore the Scrolls’ meaning and their relevance to contemporary society. The galleries featured artifacts that illuminate the culture of Biblical times, tracing the tribes, empires, and cultures (Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans) who inhabited this geographic crossroads. This exhibition presented a sophisticated story and complex information about the Dead Sea Scrolls’ profound influence.

The design broke the story into digestible chapters to ensure that visitors remain engaged. Clear, accessible, and inviting graphics supported this premise. Oversized photomurals, transparent scrims, and complementary color palette, materials, and lighting transported visitors to a different place and time in history.

More than 500 artifacts, discovered at archaeological sites, provided visitors with a record of human achievement and clues to its people, their beliefs, and way of life over the last 3,000 years. Twenty Dead Sea Scrolls were featured in two rotations and displayed within a 25-foot-diameter communal table that occupied the central gallery. Other design elements included a six-screen immersive introductory theater experience with a live narrator, a 100-foot-long reverse timeline (from present to past) that showcased iconic objects, a representation of an ancient Israelite house, and a three-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

Size 13,000 square feet

Year 2011

Project Details

FabricationKubik Maltbie

Audio-Visual IntegrationACME Professional Inc.

Media Production/ Linear and Interactive MediaOracle Film Group

LightingTechnical Artistry

ScriptwritingDr. Risa Levitt Kohn, San Diego State University, and Debora Ben Ami, Israel Antiquities Authority