Going to see a display of interesting biblical artifacts does not require traveling all over the world. Nestled in the heart of Ronks, Pennsylvania, is a quaint little yellow house that was rented out about ten years ago to the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies and was converted into a museum called the Bible History Exhibits.
The Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994. For the past 20 years, the president of the institute, Stephen C. Meyers, who holds a doctorate in theology and multiple other degrees with a focus on the Old Testament, has been collecting artifacts and replicas from the ancient world. He has visited many biblical sites in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Turkey, Crete, Greece, Malta and Rome, where he has taken pictures and done archaeological work. The artifacts and replicas he has gathered are displayed in the Bible History Exhibits, along with slide shows and other collections of his photographs.
Thanks to this extensive work, the Bible History Exhibits museum takes its visitors on a visual tour from Genesis to Revelation. Among the replicas that help people get a clearer idea of what took place in the Bible are coins used in Bible times; a spear like the one that pierced Jesus’ side; a garden tomb; the jawbone of a donkey, like the one Samson would have used to kill the Philistines; the Moabite Stone, which is an engraved stele that mentions events that correlate with 2 Kings 3; and some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the roughly 24-foot-long Great Isaiah Scroll that contains the entire book of Isaiah. There is also a dinosaur exhibit and a simulated archaeological dig, where young and old alike can search for dinosaur bones, gems, fossils and artifacts. Several guided tours of the exhibits are offered through appointment, and there are live demonstrations for things like making papyrus paper, using an olive press that would have been used in biblical times, and operating a Gutenberg printing press. The museum also presents multiple slide shows: “Christmas in the Holy Land,” “The Easter Experience,” “Where is the Ark of the Covenant?” and “Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation.”
There are many free resources for anyone who wants to learn more, such as homeschooling families, church groups, youth groups and classes of older students. These resources, found at bibleandscience.com/onlinelearning/courses and biblehistoryexhibits.com/resources, include free online learning courses at levels suitable for high school and college students. Taken altogether, these courses form a two-year program that covers topics such as the Bible and archaeology, church history, apologetics, and surveys of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the time in between.
As a nonprofit, the organization relies on more than just tour fees and gift shop revenue to operate — donations from the community help fund the museum as well as making it possible to expand the collection of artifacts and other materials. For those interested in supporting the Bible History Exhibits, there is a donation box in the museum’s gift shop area, where interesting souvenirs and Meyers’ pamphlets and other topical booklets are available.
The museum is open for free Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. most of the year, but from January to the end of February it is open by appointment only. Guided tours and demonstrations must be scheduled ahead of time, and admission is charged for guided tours. The Old and New Testament tour costs $8 for adults, $7.50 for seniors 65 and over, and $6 for children 5-12, while children 4 and under are free. The church history tour costs $5, the dinosaur exhibit and archaeological dig costs $5, and a tour of everything costs $12. To contact the Bible History Exhibits, call 717-288-2279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.