We had fewer responses for this survey than previous ones, perhaps because the nature of the survey is more geared to scholars and well-traveled tourists than to others. The lower participation may also account for why many excellent museums were not represented in the survey, including the Louvre, the Oriental Institute, and the Met.
The most popular museum of our survey was, not surprisingly, the Israel Museum (and/or Shrine of the Book). Among the enthusiastic explanations were these:
Hard to beat the archaeological section of the Israel Museum for the sheer number of outstanding and biblically significant artifacts. (And then you add the Jerusalem model and Shrine of the Book too!)
The museum is laid out chronologically. Each exhibit is concisely written and easily understood.
And specifically of the Shrine of the Book:
Coolest Hebrew manuscripts ever.
Three other museums in Israel were recommended:
House of the Anchor Museum (En Gev)
It’s so small one can describe it as cute, yet it’s dedicated to such a unique and important topic most of our information of 1st century fishing and fishermen comes from the studies from this museum.
Hecht Museum (Haifa)
While it may not have the main historically significant artifacts like the Israel Museum (e.g., the Tel Dan stele), it has one of the best displays of a wide variety of artifacts from the biblical period and some really unique exhibits like the Hellenistic shipwreck, Phoenician dye working, and treasure hoards.
Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem
amazing collection, great graphics, free parking
I’d gladly pay for parking if they let me take some pictures!
Outside of Israel, three museums were suggested from neighboring countries.
Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Cairo)
The Jordan Museum (Amman)
Historical and Biblical artifacts
The Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Who doesn’t love Hittite memorabilia (and guards with mustaches that can kill)?
Two European museums were proposed, with the British Museum getting the second highest number of votes of all (after the Israel Museum).
So many excellent collections
Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser 3 showing king Jehu and other Jews
The other was the Pergamon Museum in Berlin:
Just great in everything 😉
Before you buy your ticket to Berlin, you should know that some parts of the museum are closed for
The only museum in the US that received a vote was the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California. That is a bit disappointing, especially given how many of our readers live in the States. Perhaps I might encourage our American readers to visit some of these outstanding museums.
We’ve made a list and are soliciting suggestions for any that we may have missed.
If I had three votes to spend on three continents for the best museums related to biblical studies, I’d pick the Israel Museum (Asia), British Museum (Europe), and the Oriental Institute (North America).
But there are some great ones that I have not yet visited that could earn my vote in the future!
Thank you for participating! It’s fascinating to read what interests you and why.