The museum, together with Google Israel, launched the new site that allows users to examine and explore these ancient manuscripts from Second Temple times. The website also gives short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history.
The real scrolls are part of the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book collection in Jerusalem. They were photographed using a special camera before being uploaded to the site.
“We are privileged to house in the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book the best preserved and most complete Dead Sea Scrolls ever discovered,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “They are of paramount importance among the touchstones of monotheistic world heritage, and they represent unique highlights of our Museum’s encyclopedic holdings. Now, through our partnership with Google, we are able to bring these treasures to the broadest possible public.”
The five Dead Sea Scrolls that have been digitized include the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, theTemple Scroll, and the War Scroll.
Google logged a whopping 400,000 hits from the United States, followed by 58,000 visitors from Japan, 48,000 from Canada, and approximately 35,000 visitors from the Netherlands, Britain, Croatia and Brazil.
The museum hopes to digitalize other scrolls in the coming months and upload them as well.