Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dead Sea Scrolls

After several weeks of gloomy early spring weather, we had a beautiful Saturday and took advantage of the day to make a road trip to one of our favorite places, the Cincinnati Museum Center.  We have had a membership at the museum for several years and always enjoy visiting the permanent exhibits in the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Cincinnati History Museum.  Even just touring the old Union Terminal building with the art-deco architecture and beautiful murals is fascinating.  Although there remains a working Amtrack station in the building, most of the structure is dedicated to the museums.  When the museum center was constructed, it was the central hub for all railroads having connections in Cincinnati.  Prior to the opening of Union Terminal, passengers had to find transportation between terminals of different rail lines that may be across the city.  Like a modern airport, Union Terminal provided concourses for the major passenger railroads serving Cincinnati allowing travelers easier transfers between rail lines.
We had been telling our friends, Rex & Natialie Dillinger about the museum for some time and we were thrilled that they could join us for the day.  We left Milton before 7 am and had a pleasant drive down the AA Highway through Kentucky to Cold Spring and on to Cincinnati.  The early morning fog was thick but disappeared once the sun came out.
The traveling exhibit that brought us to the Cincinnati Museum Center on this day was the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We were thrilled to be able to see some of the most important documents in our culture up close.  The scrolls were well displayed with clear translations and interpretations.  There were also displays of jars that contained the scrolls as well as many artifacts of life the area 2000 years ago including weighing scales, coins, jars, building stones and ossuaries.  Ossuaries are boxes that are used to hold the bones of dead loved ones.  One set of ossuaries held the names, Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  However, we learned that those were very common names in those times and are unlikely to contain the remains of the biblical family.
The museum guides and the printed information accompanying the scrolls and artifacts were very helpful in understanding life in the area over 2000 years ago when the Dead Sea Scrolls would have been written.  A short movie described how the scrolls were found in 1947 and efforts that were made to locate, obtain and preserve the scrolls in the years since.  We were especially pleased that the oldest known version of the Ten Commandments was included among the scrolls on exhibit.  We learned that this scroll can only be shown for ten days then must return to storage in total darkness for a full year before being shown again.  We were thrilled to be able to see them.  We spend about two and half hours in the exhibit from 10:30 am – 1 pm.
While at the museum, we also saw a display of beautiful wood turnings and walked around the inside admiring the Rookwood Pottery tiles and the depression era mosaics.
We left the museum around 1 pm and drove across the Ohio River to Newport, Kentucky for lunch at Hofbräuhaus.  That is one of our favorite places to eat.  We have been to the Hofbräuhaus in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Munich.  We have had excellent dining experiences at all of these. 
After lunch, we met Sarah & Greg at their house for a visit then went to Findlay Market for some shopping.  Rex was interested in getting some German sausages from one of the butcher shops there and had success at Kroeger & Sons Meats.  We spent time in the city, walking around the OTR (Over the Rhine) neighborhood of Cincinnati and spending some time in the newly renovated Washington Park.  We also drove up Mt. Adams to the overlook near the Rookwood Restaurant at the site of the former Rookwood Pottery.  We drove down to the Krohn Conservatory but they were closed by the time we arrived so we walked around Eden Park for a while to see the Capitoline Wolf statue showing Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she wolf who adopted them after they were thrown into the Tiber River.  The statue was donated to Cincinnati by Bonito Mussolini in 1929.
After leaving Eden Park, we took Sarah & Greg back to their house and headed home after spending a great day in Cincinnati.