I am truly a terrible museum geek.
Some of the artifacts that awed me:
- Dead Sea Scroll fragments--these were particularly awing. They're in special darkened cases, and you can see the fragments by pushing a button that'll turn a light on for 10 seconds.
- A copy of a Tyndale Bible
- A copy of the Wicked Bible and the Breeches Bible: I spent several minutes in front of these cases trying to snicker discretely.
- A copy of Foxe's Book of Martyr's
- Erasmus' parallel New Testament
- Three Books of Hours, beautifully illuminated
- Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German
A lot of exhibit was dedicated to attempts to translate the Bible into the vernacular. Today, Bibles are produced in just about every language that has a written version. But 650 some odd years ago, people like William Tyndale were violently put to death for daring to translate the Bible into their own language.
I also got to see a replica of a Gutenberg press in action. There was a short, fifteen minute talk about the invention of movable type and then a volunteer got to turn the screw and print a couple of pages (lucky guy!).
This exhibit is moving on in May. If you haven't gone and you're in the area, I really recommend it.