It's been more than eight months since Southern's Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum opened “The Battle Over King David: Excavating the Fortress of Elah,” its most recent exhibit. But the unique and exotic arrangement of middle eastern artifacts is still turning heads. The Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM) recently recognized the display with their annual Award of Excellence under the category for small museum/temporary exhibition.
TAM has 116 museums as members and grants awards in three degrees: the Award of Excellence, Commendation, and Special Mention. Southern's museum also received a TAM award in 2009 for its exhibit, “Faces of Power: Ancient Coins of the Biblical World.”
"Winning the award has been great for the museum," said Justo Morales, museum coordinator. "When independent institutions like TAM praise the work your doing, it really shows the public that you have something worth seeing."
The museum’s current exhibit highlights the archaeological discoveries from the biblical site of Khirbet Qeiyafa in Israel, a fortified city from the time of King David. These discoveries shed light on the historical reliability of the Bible, in particular the narratives concerning Saul, David, and the early Kingdom of Judah. Since it opened, the exhibit has drawn hundreds of visitors from all over the country to see the first display of the finds from the ancient site.
"Traditionally, mostly local people visit the museum, but since the new exhibit opened we have been getting a lot of non-locals and even non-Adventists," Morales said. "People who would normally have nothing to do with Southern have come to see the exhibit, and by extension have learned about the school."
The artifacts featured at the exhibit are on loan from the National Treasures of Israel and will be returned at the end of April 2014. For more information, including the museum's hours of operation, visit southern.edu/archaeology.