PROVO — A new exhibit at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures brings the Holy Land, and in particular the city of Bethlehem, to Utah audiences through olive wood carvings, mother-of-pearl artifacts, traditional Palestinian embroidered wedding costumes and photographs.
“Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage” opened Oct. 16 and will be at the museum until April.
The approximately 2,000-square-foot exhibit tells the story of Bethlehem, the burial place of St. Jerome, Rachel, David and Solomon, which many scholars believe is the Biblical city of Ephrath, and its evolution over the centuries to the city of today that is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. The regions of Palestine are also explored in costume, photos and text.
The exhibit provides histories of key structures in Bethlehem such as the Al-Khader Church, Herodium, Mosque of Omar, Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Olive wood replicas of the Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, hand-carved by Palestinian artisans, are prominently featured. Traditional Palestinian costumes that anchor the exhibit are part of the collection of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation.
Of particular interest to Catholics is a chair used by Saint John Paul VI as his papal throne during his 2000 pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a photo of Pope Francis at the Israeli West wall in 2014, mother-of-pearl crucifixes, Stations of the Cross and olive wood nativities.
For the past two years, museum curator Dr. Cynthia Finlayson and her students worked with Rateb Y. Rabie, president of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, to put the exhibit together. Rabie is a knight commander of the Equestrian Order of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a fourth degree Knight of Columbus.
“The Holy Land is all our home,” Rabie said at the exhibit’s opening Oct. 16. “All peoples were there — Greeks, Arabs, Jews. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ or through the Abrahamic covenant.”
HCEF is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land by providing financial, moral and spiritual support to the Christian community.
WHAT: “Returning to Bethlehem A Cultural Pilgrimage” exhibit, highlighting Bethlehem and the state of Palestine
WHERE: Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures, 2201 N. Canyon Road, Provo
WHEN: Now through April 2019. Free and open to the public.
Customized tours to families with children, groups or to individuals interested in a particular aspect of the exhibit may be arranged by appointment. Call 801-422-0020.
For more information about the exhibit1Q2`S1 visit:
By: Linda Petersen