In 2015, in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Terra Sancta Museum – the only museum in the world dedicated to the roots of Christianity and the preservation of the Holy Places – will open: a permanent exhibit established by the Custody of the Holy Land to shed light on the history of this extraordinary land in which for millennia the destinies of many peoples living together in the places holy to the three great monotheistic religions have been mysteriously woven together.
In this special, delicate historical moment it is of fundamental importance to inform the whole world of the history of the Christian presence in the Holy Land, to encourage a greater familiarity with our roots, to contribute to the unity of the human family, and to send a message of peace throughout the world.
As the modern museum complex opens to the public, the Franciscans of the Custody intend to give prominence to the artistic, archaeological, and cultural heritage that has been preserved over the eight centuries they have been present in this land, protecting the sites where Jesus lived. For the Archaeological Museum, the guidingcriterion of the exhibit will be geographical-evangelical, determined in part by the history and nature of the archaeological excavations that will be documented, but also by the interest of the public which the Museum will serve. For the Historical Museum, the criterion will be historical-thematic, highlighting and documenting the historic missions of the Custody of the Holy Land and its relations with the European States.
To the innumerable pilgrims and visitors coming from all over the world, will be proposed a flexible cultural itinerary, methodologically rigorous, and subdivided into three distinct “moments” around the Old City of Jerusalem and, in the future, extending to other sites in the Holy Land. A single exhibition complex composed of three museums (archaeological, multimedia, and historical) located on two sites a short distance from one another, near three principal destinations of pilgrims and tourists to Jerusalem (the Holy Sepulchre, the Wailing Wall, the Temple Mount).
The founding institution is the Custody of the Holy Land, a religious fraternity (Friars Minor) that has custody of the sites of Redemption, together with the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, a scientific institution for research and academic instruction of the Holy Scriptures and archaeology of biblical lands, with permanent seat in Jerusalem.
The scientific committee is led by Eugenio Alliata, director of the Archaeological Museum of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum.Project Head and Promoter: ATS Pro Terra Sancta. Museological Direction: Gabriele Allevi Architectural and Museographical Planning: Studio GTRF Tortelli e Frassoni Architetti Associati.
In the coming months, a large exhibit will be held at the Palace of Versailles entitled The Treasury of the Holy Sepulchre (April 16 to July 14, 2013). Most of the objects presented by the Custody of the Holy Land will return to Jerusalem for permanent exhibition in the museum.
The progress of the work can be followed www.terrasanctamuseum.org beginning at the end of March 2013.
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For more information on the Terra Sancta Museum, go to: http://www.terrasanctamuseum.org/en