“Passages provides the casual visitor and the intellectually curious—those of faith and those of no faith at all—with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to go behind the scenes of the most influential work that humankind has ever labored to capture, preserve, translate and study,” said Dr. Jerry Pattengale, executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing advanced research on items in the collection.
Senior group tours, student field trips, homeschool days and church small-group excursions are encouraged.
Guests at Passages experience the Bible's story through contextual settings such as an ancient Jewish synagogue, the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey and Israel's Qumran Caves. Historical figures who played an integral role in the Bible's preservation and translation, hands-on activities, digital technologies and living-history presentations are also featured. Artifacts and texts that chronicle the evolution of the Bible's format from early cuneiform tablets to today's digital Scriptures are on display throughout. Docents, guides throughout the exhibit, are available to answer questions and help your experience come alive.
Guests in Springfield will experience:
- A working replica of the Gutenberg printing press
- “The Wilde World of the Bible” kids’ adventure, featuring a special Noah’s Ark experience and multimedia developed by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer
- iPod Touch audio tour for laymen and scholars alike
- St. Jerome’s Cave, where guests imitate 4th-century monks transcribing the Bible by candlelight
- Holograms and video screens that re-enact historical scenes related to the Bible
- A kids’ scavenger hunt guided by iPod Touch and led by Louie the Lion
- Animatronics of historical figures like Queen Anne Boleyn and William Tyndale, who played major roles in preserving and translating the Scriptures over the centuries
Springfield is the fifth U.S. city to host Passages, which features around 400 items from the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox faith traditions. Highlights in the exhibit will include:
- First-century BC Dead Sea Scroll fragments
- First editions of the King James Bible
Codex Climaci Rescriptus,containing the most-extensive early biblical texts in Palestinian Aramaic, similar to Jesus’ household language
- Torah scrolls that survived the Nazi Holocaust
- Cuneiform tablets dating to the time of Abraham
- A first edition of the Rheims New Testament, the first Catholic English translation
- Rare letters and Bibles from Martin Luther, John Wycliffe and William Tyndale
- The original, handwritten manuscript of the biblically inspired Battle Hymn of the Republic