Let there be light: an educational holiday alternative for the family

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:06

    NEW YORK - Take a break from the frantic activities of the modern holiday season and travel with your family to the time of Jesus and the Macabees. A visit to the Museum of Biblical Art lets families of all ages explore what life was like before electricity with the “Let There Be Light: Oil Lamps from the Holy Land” exhibit, on loan from the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem. History is brought to life through the wonderful array of oil lamps on display. The exhibit gathers 90 oil lamps of Jewish, Christian, Samaritan, Roman and Islamic origin to explore the significance of the most important household items in antiquity. On view are a diverse range of lamps, some decorated with geometric patterns and classic motifs, as well as ingenious images drawn from daily life and nature. The exhibition challenges modern-day visitors, for whom darkness is little more than an easily remedied nuisance, to imagine the profound importance of light to people who lived in ancient times. “Let There Be Light: Oil Lamps from the Holy Land” examines the role of the oil lamp in Jewish tradition and is an ideal way to illustrate the historical significance of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, during this holiday season. The museum provides a family guide to the exhibit which engages kids in an exploration of the gallery through the story of Jacob’s Lamp. Children follow Jacob, a little boy who lived two thousand years ago, as he must acquire a new lamp for his family before sun down. Once they have helped Jacob on his journey kids can discover their own biblical treasures in the archaeological dig that accompanies the exhibit. The museum has planned a roster of fun family events to accompany Let There Be Light. All programs are free and open to the general public. Children must be accompanied by an adult. • Dig This! Saturday, January 21, 2-3 p.m. Go on an archaeology adventure right here in the museum as you search for buried “artifacts” in our built-in dig. Guided by a trained archaeologist, you’ll learn how to examine and identify the objects you find. Suitable for children ages 7-12. • Solve a Pottery Puzzle! Saturday, February 11, 2- 3 p.m. Learn how archaeologists reconstruct objects they find in digs. Put a buried puzzle back together and bring how your very own “artifact”! Suitable for children ages 7-12. Admission to the Museum is free. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Monday, closed. For directions and information, call 212-408-1500 or visit www.mobia.org.