Project: "The Dead Sea Scrolls"
Designer(s): Design Team Kossmann.dejong, Netherlands
Category: Interior Design, Professional
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Entry Description: The exhibition ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’ in the Drents Museum is dedicated to one of the most revolutionary archaeological finds of the twentieth century: the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in caves near Qumran. This unique collection of Jewish writings is over 2,000 years old and is of vital importance for our knowledge of early Judaism and Christianity. Sixteen scrolls are presented. Several fragments have not previously been shown to the public. Alongside the manuscripts, the exhibition comprises over 400 special archaeological objects that hail from old Judea, Jerusalem, Qumran etc., which place the manuscripts in the cultural and historical context of the Greek-Roman period. Our solution was to design an exhibition, which is in the essence archaeological, on an impressive theatrical way, using sound, light, film and objects to ‘absorb’ visitors into the world of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Visitors are introduced to the period in which the manuscripts were produced and collected. Thematic vitrines illustrate important aspects of daily life. The story of the uprising of the Jews against the Romans in 66AD is told in the next room by film and archaeological everyday objects, which are the dramatic proof of the flight of the Jews. In contrary to the scrolls, some of the temple fragments could be touched. The story of the discovery of manuscripts and the journey they undertook subsequently is told using film, photographs and objects. The central square in the exhibition immerses the visitor in an abstract desert. A strong light source casts long shadows of the visitors present, while a mysterious soundscape enhances the sense of being in a desert. The area offers access to the pavilion in which the scrolls are displayed and in which visitors can find out more about the significance, form (materials, type of writing) and conservations of the manuscripts.

About the Designer/Company
Kossmann.dejong, exhibition architects, is an Amsterdam-based design agency that focuses on exhibition and interior architecture. The agency was founded in 1998 by Herman Kossmann (1958) and Mark de Jong (1960), both graduated in architecture at the Technical University in Delft. Kossmann.dejong has grown into an agency with around 25 employees. A connection between content and imagination is what characterises Kossmann.dejong´s design approach. It manages to do this while making complex design issues accessible to a broad audience and to transform them into intrinsic experiences. The agency combines a range of disciplines and media that enable it to tell spatial stories. Film, lighting and sound are indispensable media in generating experiences. The subjects of their exhibitions range from architecture, history of psychiatry, art for teenagers and micro-organisms. Currently Kossmann.dejong is, among other projects, working on four museums for a cultural park in Taipei (Taiwan), the Coral Triangle Center in Bali (Indonesia), the Historisches Museum Frankfurt (Germany), microZOO for Artis (NL), the new National Military Museum in Soesterberg (NL) as well as an exhibition for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (UK). Most recent projects are the photo exhibition ‘Jimmy Nelson- Hail the People’ for the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde Leiden (NL), the ‘Wonder Rooms’ for the Gemeentemuseum The Hague (NL) and the permanent exhibition for the Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingor (Denmark).