U.S. Museums with Artifacts Related to the Biblical World

Arkansas

The Linda Byrd Smith Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Harding University, Searcy, AR. The collection includes about 100 artifacts, primarily from the excavations of Tel Beth Shemesh.

California

Badè Archaeological Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA. The core of the collection is from the excavations of Tell en-Nasbeh (biblical Mizpah) by William F. Badè in the 1920s-30s. A digital catalog is also available.

El Camino College Anthropology Museum, Torrance, CA. The Eastern Mediterranean in Antiquity includes artifacts from several sites in Israel, including material from Hebron now on loan from USC. The exhibit features objects from the Gobekli Temple, Egypt, Canaan, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Islamic world.

Getty Villa, Malibu, CA. This collection of Greek and Roman antiquities is organized by themes, including deities, the theater, and the Trojan War.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. The museum has three collections which are relevant:

(1) The Art of the Ancient Near East collection consists of over two thousand objects spanning more than four thousand years and an area extending from the eastern Mediterranean to Pakistan, with a particular focus on Iran.

(2) The Egyptian Art collection consists of approximately two thousand works of art, ranging in date from the fourth millennium B.C. through the end of the Coptic period (7th century A.D.). The strengths of the collection include Predynastic stone palettes and vessels, Old Kingdom tomb reliefs, bronze figures of deities, and a 21st Dynasty sarcophagus.

(3) The Greek, Roman, and Etruscan Art collection includes ancient Greek and South Italian vases of the early “black-figure” style and the later “red-figure” technique, and Roman sculptures believed to be copies of the lost or destroyed Greek originals, including the Hope Hygieia and the Bateman Mercury.

Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Archaeology, Los Angeles, CA. The Archaeological Collection is comprised of two parts. The sherd collection includes thousands of diagnostic potsherds from the Neolithic to the Islamic periods. The display collection includes Chalcolithic material from Tuleilat Ghassul, Early Bronze pottery from a tomb, Egyptian scarabs, a large collection of Roman-Byzantine pottery, and more.

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. The largest collection of artifacts in California (nearly 4 million) includes objects from Egypt, the Near East, and the Mediterranean world. More than 210,000 objects are included in the online database. The museum is currently closed for renovation.

Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA. The mission of the Skirball Museum is to preserve and advance Jewish heritage in social and cultural context. Its collections include some 25,000 objects of art and history relating to daily life and practice, customs and values from biblical to contemporary times, reflecting Jewish life in virtually every era and every part of the world.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, CA. More than 4,000 objects from Egypt are on display in a building architecturally inspired by the Karnak temple. An mp3 audio tour is available for download.

USC Archaeological Research Collection, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. The collection is comprised of over 5,000 ancient artifacts including coins, seals, bullae, cuneiform tablets, terracotta figurines, and Greek and Egyptian art.

Woodland Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Woodland, CA. A ministry of Woodland United Fellowship, the goal of the museum is to help others find truth and freedom in Jesus Christ.

Connecticut

Yale Babylonian Collection, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT. With more than 45,000 artifacts, the museum houses the largest collection of documents, seals, and other artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia in the United States. Displays are normally open to the public 2-5 weekdays, September through July. Visitors will need to secure a visitor’s pass.

Yale Egyptian Collections, Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, CT. The collection includes more than 5,000 objects from Egypt and Nubia, dating from prehistory through late antiquity.

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT. The Gallery’s collection of art from the ancient Mediterranean world comprises over 13,000 objects from the Near East, Egypt, Greece, Etruria, and Rome. The collection is also known for its important finds from Yale University’s excavations at Dura-Europos and at Gerasa.

Georgia

Biblical History Center, LaGrange, GA. Founded by James Fleming and formerly known as the Explorations in Antiquity Center, this teaching museum specializes in daily life in Bible times. Numerous reconstructions provide the visitor with an authentic experience of the ancient world. The Biblical Life Artifacts Gallery is filled with artifacts on long-term loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. The Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art collection includes what may be the mummy of pharaoh Ramesses I. The museum also has a collection of Greek and Roman Art. Over 1,000 high resolution images of works of art in the museum’s collections are available online.

Illinois

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. The collection of the Art Institute’s Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art spans nearly 4,000 years and is comprised of significant artworks from ancient Near Eastern, Byzantine, Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, and Roman cultures.

The Field Museum, Chicago, IL. The museum has one of the largest collections of Egyptian mummies found in the U.S. The exhibit includes a three-story recreation of a mastaba tomb, as well as a marketplace filled with artifacts relating to everyday life in Egypt.

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL. The museum’s collections include objects from the Ancient Mediterranean.

Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. One of the best of its kind in the country, this museum displays objects recovered by Oriental Institute excavations in permanent galleries devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as rotating special exhibits.

Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL. The museum has a collection of 368 carved and incised Neolithic figurines from Greece, Turkey, and Serbia, as well as 1,750 Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform tablets from Babylonia, Uruk, Umma, and other Mesopotamian sites.

Wheaton College Archaeology Museum, Wheaton, IL. The collection is built around the finds from Joseph Free’s excavations at Tell Dothan and is supplemented with objects from Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia. Museum visits are by appointment only.

Kentucky

Joseph Callaway Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. Recently closed. A few artifacts are on display in the library.

Louisiana

Bible Lands Museum, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, LA. The collection includes artifacts in the following displays: Daily Life in Biblical Times, World of Abraham/Patriarchs, World of the Israelite Monarchies, Archaeological Method, Archaeology of Religion, The Earliest Evidence of Writing.

Maryland

The Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, Baltimore, MD. Glass cases highlight Latin inscriptions and objects from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Near East. Drawers contain cuneiform tablets and texts, Egyptian shabtis, ancient and Islamic glass, Hellenistic lamps and Roman stamped bricks.

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD. The museum’s Ancient Egypt and Nubia collectionfeatures two monumental 3,000-pound statues of the goddess Sekhmet, sarcophagi, an intact mummy, as well as statuary, reliefs, stelae, funerary objects, jewelry and objects from daily life. Separate collections include objects from the Ancient Near East and Ancient Greece.

Massachusetts

Harvard Semitic Museum, Cambridge, MA. This museum features a life-size reconstruction of an Israelite four-room house as well as exhibits from Nuzi, Egypt, and Cyprus.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. More than 83,000 works of art from Egypt, Nubia, the Near East, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Anatolia are on display in the Art of the Ancient World collection.

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA. The museum has a small but distinguished selection of objects that range from large-scale Greek marble reliefs and black- and red-figure vases of the Classical (Rycroft Painter) amphora, an unusual Cypriot sculpture (Head of Aphrodite) as well as a variety of ancient glass found in the Troad, hundreds of Greek and Roman coins (nearly 100 from the Antioch mint) and rare Roman imperial portraits (Caligula). The Roman floor mosaics excavated in Antioch are the finest and largest of any US collection.

Michigan

Siegfried H. Horn Museum, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI. The collection of 8,500 objects from the ancient Near East are in storage while a new exhibit is constructed. A small display is open to the public on Saturdays, 3-5 pm, during the school year.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. The museum houses large collections of Parthian pottery, Latin inscriptions, Byzantine and Islamic textiles, glass vessels, ancient coins, and Greco-Roman objects from the Egyptian town of Karanis.

Mississippi

The University of Mississippi Museum, Oxford, MS. Founded with the personal collection of Professor David M. Robinson, the museum includes Greek and Roman sculpture, art, pottery, inscriptions, and coins. A small collection of Egyptian artifacts was purchased from the Met.

Missouri

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO. Thousands of artifacts are displayed in their Egyptian galleries, Near Eastern and Greek collections, and Roman and Early Christian Art collections.

The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO. The Ancient Art collection features objects from a wide geographic area spanning the Mediterranean basin to Central Asia, with the ancient cultures of Greece, Italy, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt prominently represented.

New Jersey

Newark Museum, Newark, NJ. The Museum’s art of the ancient Mediterranean cultures consists of objects from Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Rome and includes one of the finest collections of ancient glass. The Egyptian Collection features sculpture, writing and funerary objects from Neolithic times through the Roman period. Sculpture from Greece, Rome, Cyprus and Etruria are also important pieces in the collections.

Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ. This collection of ancient art numbers more than five thousand objects. The early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Iran, Asia Minor, and the Levant are documented by a wealth of diverse artifacts, and the long history of ancient Egypt is illustrated by outstanding examples of stone and pottery vessels, carved stone reliefs, bronze statuettes, wall paintings, amulets, and mummies. The collection of Greek art includes major works of Attic black-figure and red-figure vase painting, Archaic bronze statuettes, Hellenistic jewelry and terracotta figurines, pottery from Cyprus, Corinth, and Rhodes, and marble funerary and votive reliefs. The heritage of ancient Italy is particularly well represented, beginning with a distinguished collection of Etruscan vases, sculptures, and metalwork and culminating in the arts of Rome and its empire. The Roman collection encompasses marble and bronze portraits, sculptures of gods, satyrs, and nymphs, sarcophagi and funerary monuments, glass vessels and carved bone reliefs, silver and gold coins, sealstones of agate and chalcedony, statuettes in bronze, amber, ivory, and clay, and a spectacular silver-gilt wine cup. Princeton’s distinguished record of archaeological research in Roman Syria is illustrated by unusual basalt sculptures from the Hauran region, funerary reliefs from the desert city of Palmyra, and a renowned collection of colorful mosaic pavements from the great metropolis of Antioch-on-the-Orontes.

New Mexico

Museum of Archaeology and Biblical History, Trinity Southwest University, Albuquerque, NM. Features artifacts from Israel and Jordan from the Chalcolithic through Byzantine periods.

New York

Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY. Long-term exhibits include Egyptian mummies and “body parts,” Assyrian reliefs, and Islamic art.

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. The history of glass through 3,500 years is told through exhibits on glassmaking, Roman glass, Islamic glass, and more.

Jewish Museum, New York, NY. The Archaeology Zone puts children in the role of archaeologists, and the Culture and Continuity exhibition presents Jewish history through the last 3,000 years.

Living Torah Museum, Brooklyn, NY. This Orthodox Jewish museum located in a private home includes 900 artifacts related to understanding the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. One of the premiere museums in the US, the Met includes 7 galleries of Ancient Near Eastern Art, 39 galleries of Egyptian Art, 27 galleries of Greek and Roman Art, and much more.

Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY. The Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets collection is one of the best of its kind in the world.

North Carolina

Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. While Greco-Roman works are the focus of the Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art display, artifacts from Egypt, Iran, and western Asia are also on display.

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC. The classical collection comprises works of art from ancient Greece and Rome, including art from earlier cultural phases of these two great civilizations: Greek Bronze Age cultures in the Aegean (Cycladic) as well as mainland Greece (Mycenaean); and the Villanovan and Etruscan cultures of northwest and central Italy. It also includes art from ancient Cyprus. Although comprising only 38 artifacts, the ancient Egyptian art collection represents the major periods of ancient Egyptian history, from the Predynastic to the Roman periods.

Ohio

Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH. The Ancient Art exhibit predominantly focuses on works from Greece, Egypt, and Rome, but it includes a smaller number of objects from Hittite, Sumerian, Persian, Etruscan, Phoenician and Cypriot cultures. Admission is free.

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH. The museum possesses a distinguished collection of ancient art from the Mediterranean region and the Near East. Spanning some four thousand years from the fourth millennium BC to the early centuries AD, this notable collection features major examples of stone sculpture, decorated metalwork, painted wall carvings and ceramic vessels from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Among its Near Eastern archaeological treasures is an exceptional collection of Nabataean sculpture and decorated architecture—the largest collection of material of its kind outside of Jordan.

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH. The Ancient Near East, Greek, and Roman Art collection is a small but distinguished part of this art museum.

Skirball Museum in Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College and Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, OH. The museum’s collections of Jewish Art and material culture explore 4000 years of Jewish life and culture, highlighting themes of immigration, worship, customs, community and family life. They include archaeological materials from biblical and later historical periods illuminating early Jewish life.

The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH. The collection represents ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works of art.

Oregon

Prewitt-Allen Archaeological Museum, Corban University, Salem, OR. This museum consists of hallway displays of replicas and artifacts from Egypt, Greece, and the Middle East.

Pennsylvania

The Alan and Muriel Pense Biblical Archaeology Museum, Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA. Nearly 500 artifacts are on display from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Phoenicia, Assyria, Babylonia, Sumer, Persia, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Crete, Greece, and Italy. The museum is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Bible History Exhibits, Ronks, PA. This museum includes replicas of the key archaeological finds related to the Bible as well as some artifacts and an archaeological dig-for-a-day experience.

Gannon University Archaeology Museum Gallery, Erie, PA. The focus of this new museum is artifacts from Khirbet Iskander, Jordan. An official website for the museum is not yet available.

Kelso Bible Lands Museum, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA. Current exhibits include: “Towns and Tombs: The Dead Sea Plain in the Early Bronze Age,” “Every Day in the Land Between, 2000 BCE – 1000 CE,” “Worlds Made Visible,” and “A Photographic Memory: Ninety Years of Archaeology at PTS.” Requests for tours by groups are welcomed.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA. One of the most impressive museums of artifacts related to the biblical world, this museum houses 30,000 clay tablets, 42,000 Egyptian and Nubian artifacts, 34,000 objects from the Mediterranean world, and additional collections from Syria-Palestine, Iran, and the Islamic world.

Tennessee

Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN. The collection of the University of Memphis’ Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology is housed in the university’s art museum. It spans the entire range of ancient Egyptian history and prehistory (ca. 100,000 BC through 700 AD) and includes over 1,400 objects, including mummies, religious and funerary items, jewelry, sculpture, and objects from everyday life.

Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum, Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN. This is the home of the William G. Dever Near Eastern Collection which has on display more than two hundred objects from Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Syria-Palestine, Greece, Cyprus, and Anatolia. Highlights of the exhibit include an ancient Babylonian brick stamped with Nebuchadnezzar’s name, a complete series of lamps from the Chalcolithic to the early Arabic periods, a rare Syrian clay model of a chariot complete with wheels, handwritten cuneiform tablets from the ancient Ur, and a series of Syrian toggle pins from the Middle Bronze Age.

Museum of Biblical History, Collierville, TN. The museum exists to present to the public, especially young people, the historical and cultural context of the Bible the living word of God. The exhibit features replicas of significant artifacts from the British Museum and the Louvre including: the Assyrian Flood tablet, the Moabite Stone (Mesha Stela), a relief panel from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, the Taylor Prism (Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah), the Babylonian Chronicle, the Cyrus Cylinder, and the the Rosetta Stone.

Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Nashville, TN. The collection includes works of art from Egypt, Etruria, and Greece.

Texas

Dunham Bible Museum, Houston Baptist University, Houston, TX. A large collection of rare Bibles is supplemented with special exhibits, some of which focus on biblical archaeology.

Kimball Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX. “The Kimbell’s select holdings of antiquities range from the Egyptian Old Kingdom of the third millennium B.C. through ancient Assyria, Greece, and Rome, and to the Early Christian Church in the fifth century.”

The Museum of Biblical Art, Dallas, TX. In addition to their regular collections, they have special exhibits which are sometimes related to the ancient Near East.

Naranjo Museum of Natural History, Lufkin, TX. A back-room gallery contains artifacts from the biblical world.

San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX.  This museum “houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek and Roman art in the southern United States.”

Tandy Archaeological Museum, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. The focus of this small collection comes from the seminary’s excavations at Tel Batash, biblical Timnah, in the Shephelah of Judah.

Virginia

Liberty Biblical Museum, Lynchburg, VA. The museum’s exhibits include oil lamps, artifacts from biblical Israel, the Last Supper, the Dead Sea Scrolls, daily life in Bible times, rare Bibles, and more. The museum is located in the Jerry Falwell Library.

Washington, DC

National Museum of Natural History and Freer and Sackler Galleries (aka National Museum of Asian Art), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. The Natural History Museum includes a gallery of Egyptian mummies. (In the past, one was able to view artifacts from Nelson Glueck’s excavations at Tell el-Kheleifeh, including a ring-seal of Jotham, but we are not able to confirm that these items are on display at this time.) The Freer and Sackler Galleries include collections of Ancient Egyptian Art, Ancient Near Eastern Art, and Biblical Manuscripts.

Ontario, Canada

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON. The museum features eight galleries with objects from Bible lands.

(1) The Eaton Gallery of Rome displays over 500 artifacts highlighting aspects of daily Roman life, the contrasting tastes throughout the vast Empire, and the Roman influence on diverse local cultures.

(2) The Galleries of Africa Nubia gallery sheds light on the ancient Nubian civilization that flourished in the Nile Valley for thousands of years. Gallery themes include: Rise of Kush; Meroe: the Royal City of Kush; End of the Kushite Empire and Religious Change in Nubia.

(3) The Galleries of Africa: Egypt gallery follows the history of Ancient Egypt over nearly 5,000 years with an impressive collection of objects depicting all aspects of spiritual and daily life. The Egyptian collection is comprised of approximately 25,000 artifacts, and close to 2,000 of these are on display in the gallery.

(4) The Wirth Gallery of the Middle East exhibits more than 1,000 artifacts from the Middle East presented in thematic displays of Documents & Writing, Technology, Spirituality & Religion, Art in Life, and Arms & Armour. Examine the legacies left by the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians, Assyrians and others from the region in a gallery that explores a heritage spanning the Palaeolithic Age to the 20th century AD.

(5) The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Rome and the Near East showcases over 200 artifacts including jewellery, floor mosaics and figurines. The ancient Romans slowly conquered the Near East and expanded their empire to include Petra, Palmyra, Judaea, and Seleucid Syria. The treasures in this gallery reveal the urban life and sophisticated culture that flourished under Roman rule.

(6) The Gallery of Greece tells the story of the development of the Greek world from the Archaic and Classical periods through the Hellenistic period. More than 1,500 objects, presented in chronological themed displays including Day-to-Day Activities, Entertainment, War and Hunting, and Politics.

(7) The A.G. Leventis Foundation Gallery of Ancient Cyprus features 300 objects of art created in Cyprus between the Bronze Age and the Hellenistic period.

(8) The Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean contains over 100 artifacts in four thematic areas: the Cycladic, the Minoan, the Mycenaean, and the Geometric Period.

Notes

We want to thank A.D. Riddle for his help in compiling this list. We also thank those who provided suggestions, including Gordon Franz, Ferrell Jenkins, Brenda Duff, G. M. Grena, John Pleasnick, Scott Ashley, Christopher Jones, Darrell Beddoe, Steven Fine, Wayne Stiles, and G. B. Howell Jr.

Please send any suggestions or corrections to Todd Bolen. Suggestions are also welcomed for a forthcoming list of Bible Parks in the US, including tabernacle replicas and the Holy Land Experience.

Last updated: April 14, 2017