History center to host free events
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016
LaGRANGE — In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Biblical History Center will offer free admission on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A brief program featuring community and state leaders is set for noon.
Since its founding in 2005, The Biblical History Center has portrayed life as it was for everyday people living in ancient Israel. The archaeological museum is one of only seven museums in the world that the Israel Antiquities Authority has entrusted with a longterm collection of its ancient artifacts. These historic treasures include a 4,700-year-old game board and 1,600-year-old Christian oil lamps.
“We had a center like this in Israel for 40 years, but because of a strong interest in sharing this experience in the United States, the decision was made to relocate,” said founder and CEO Dr. James W. Fleming. “We contacted foundations in the Atlanta area and Callaway Foundation Inc. expressed interest. The Foundation believed in the center’s goals and offered to become a partner in the capital projects associated with our relocation.”
Only seven museums in the world, including the Louvre in Paris and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, showcase artifacts from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The Biblical History Center is the only museum in the Southeast with the artifacts.
“With the addition of the artifacts gallery in 2013, the center entered into a rare and small grouping of elite museums globally that are entrusted with artifacts from the Israel Antiquities Authority,” said LaGrange-Troup County Tourism Director Dave Marler. “Dr. Fleming’s solid reputation with the Israeli government created this opportunity of which any community would be envious.”
A tourism attraction in Troup County, the center drew 14,500 guests in 2015.
“Most of our visitors come from within a two-hour driving radius,” said COO Derrick Lewis. “However, every day there are walk-in guests who have traveled either internationally or several thousand miles to visit.”
Senior groups and home school and private school field trips bring a significant amount of the business, Lewis said.
Formerly known as Explorations in Antiquity Center, The Biblical History Center took a new name in 2015. In addition to the archaeological replica and artifacts gallery tour, the center offers several interactive, educational and entertaining activities.
“With reservations, visitors can experience an ancient style meal in an authentic setting, featuring the foods, manners and customs of the first century biblical village,” said Penny Smart, reservationist.
Education director and co-founder Hannaniah Pinto encourages visitors to make reservations for a kids’ dig where children become junior archaeologists and discover historical treasures.
“The Shepherd’s Bread Experience is very popular, too,” Pinto added. “Participants cook bread on an open fire and butter is made just like shepherds did thousands of years ago.”
The Easter season has Follow the Cross Walks tours and December weekend evenings feature Follow the Shepherd Walks. Roman Army Day is the first Saturday in May and a variety of one-hour lectures and three-day educational conferences are available.
For more information, visit BiblicalHistoryCenter.com or call 706-885-0363.