In 1924, explorer Antonio F. Futterer gathered up the Middle Eastern artifacts he had gathered during journeys abroad and opened a museum the Holyland Exhibition. His intention was to share the wonders of Biblical regions with Los Angelinos who would never have the opportunities that he'd had to see the Holy Land first-hand. To manage the museum, Futterer founded a non-profit, interdenominational organization he called the Holyland Bible Knowledge Society. Futterer's descendants still look after the collection and offer tours of the five-room property to this day.
Items to look for here include clay oil lamps, crusty coins, ancient urns, bottles, ivory and silver jewelry, tapestries, elaborate costumes, and accessible re-creations of ancient domiciles and bazaars. Some of the objects are more than 2,000 years old, such as a mummy casket determined to have been made six centuries years before the birth of Christ. Most of these curiosities were brought back from Futterer's expeditions to search for the Golden Ark of the Covenant in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, and Palestine. Some say the Indiana Jones saga, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," was modeled after his adventures.
The Holyland Exhibition is located just off Glendale Freeway between exits 12 and 13 at 2215 Lake View Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90039-3635. Viewings and tours are by appointment only, and there is a fee for admission of $2.50 per adult and $2 for children under 16. Light refreshments are included in the price.