SALT LAKE CITY — The cultural exchange of the Dead Sea Scrolls moves forward with 10 new scrolls arriving at the Leonardo in Salt Lake City.
Over the last five days, curators have been carefully exchanging fragments of 10 Dead Sea Scrolls that have been here at The Leonardo for 10 new ones. The visitors that were at the exhibit Tuesday night were the first ones to see the scrolls.
Late at night, when visitors have left the museum, Elena Libman, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, replaced the fragments she hand-carried on flights from Jerusalem. The 10 pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, here since November, now go into storage for five years. Some of the new ones have never left Israel before.
"We are proud to share them because they belong to human beings, not only to Israel,” Libman said.
The manuscripts, segments of the Old Testament, were written on parchment or animal skins. But one of the new ones, a bill of sale for a piece of land, is on papyrus.
Janice Dabb, a visitor to The Leonardo, said, "When I heard this was coming, I thought, 'Oh, that would be so amazing to see.' To think that these things are so old. It's incredible that they are still in existence."
Dabb's husband, Kevin, said, "It's biblical scripture, and it's always been intriguing to me to understand, to be able to see literally where it is and where it came from is just amazing."
Visitors may also write words of faith and place them onto a rock from Jerusalem's Western Wall or into one of the cracks in the stones above.
This reminded Diane Peterson of her trip to Israel as she watched faithful Jews offer prayers at what they call the Wailing Wall, all that is left of the ancient temple.
"I put a prayer for one of my daughters in the West Wall, so I put a prayer for another one of my daughters right here, so it will end up back there in Jerusalem."
The priceless artifacts will return to Jerusalem in a few weeks. Managers said the crowd size is also growing. They suggest making plans or group reservations now.
"The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times" continues at The Leonardo through April 27