Friday, January 05, 2007

In the Beginning

Well, since I couldn't be at the APA meeting (and to think I'm missing exciting papers on Sappho and Plato and "queer icons" and the Classical Tradition and even Alexander Hamilton and HBO's Rome!), I finally made it up to the Sackler Gallery in D.C. to see In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000. It's only open through the 7th, but if you're in the D.C. area, I do advise you get yourself over there to see it (if you haven't already)! I'd plan at least three hours, though, at the museum just to get through the line and through the exhibit. It's quite a large exhibit. There are various different examples of biblical fragments, including some nice dual language Bibles. The blurbs are also pretty good for telling you what you're looking at and giving a bit of context.

The main problems with the exhibit were lighting (understandable, though) and placement within the cases (the placement within the room is done well, though, especially considering the number of people in at a time). I've noticed a lot of displays in England tend to have the ancient fragments/books parallel to the glass and close enough that you can get a good look, even with smaller writing (often achieved by a slanted display, rather than a normal box). This exhibit sticks to boxed cases, with the books/fragments at an angle, so there was quite a distance between you and the text. With my bad eyesight, I found it difficult (or impossible) to read the texts with smaller writing.

Picky detail, to be sure. It's definitely an exhibit well worth the trip, and there's plenty you can see and read even with bad eyesight. Certainly, the exhibit surpassed my expectations!


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