Dead Sea Scrolls Online

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has teamed up with Google to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls and make them accessible online. The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project has just released the first five complete scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947, and over the next decade fragments of nearly a thousand scrolls came to light. They are among the oldest and most important Biblical artifacts ever found, yet for years access to them was tightly controlled. The Huntington Library‘s decision in 1991 to make even its photographs of the scrolls available to scholars caused controversy at the time, so this latest development is truly welcome news.

Google Art Project

You may have seen announcements over the past week for Google’s Art Project. Google has partnered with 17 European and American museums (including the Hermitage, Uffizi, Rijksmuseum, Metropolitan, and MoMA) to present some of their collections online.

There are two main features of the Art Project:

  • View Artwork gives you zoomable, high-resolution images of certain objects in each museum
  • Explore the Museum lets you “wander” virtually through some of the museum’s galleries, which is very much like using Street View in Google Maps

Each museum has only made a small number of their works and galleries available to the user, so this is by no means a comprehensive resource, but you may find it worth exploring.

If you have a Google Account (or Gmail), you can login and create a personalized Artwork Collection—including those details you create by zooming in—and share your images online with your friends. I’ve saved a sample collection of paintings from the Van Gogh Museum that you can view here. Just click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to view each image.

For more information, take a look at the Art Project’s FAQ page. There you will also find a link to the Art Project’s YouTube Channel, which has several short videos about the site.

You might also want to read the recent review of Google’s Art Project in The New York Times.

I’ve added a link to Google’s Art Project on the VRC’s website so that you can find it easily in the future.

Let me know what you think about it!

Update: Google’s Art Project does not allow you to download its images, but some of them have been made available in Wikimedia Commons.