I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of Israel Museum visitors have viewed the Herod exhibition since it opened early this year.*
I wish it could stay forever but on January 4, Herod the Great, The King's Final Journey will close.
The banners are all I can show you of the artifacts on display, because the no photography rule was strictly enforced and there were guards everywhere inside the rooms of the exhibition.
You can see the man on duty at the entrance is a no-nonsense guy.
Well, OK, this is the one picture I sneaked before being told to go check my bag.
These are the frescoed walls from Herod's Throne Room, in his Third Palace in Jericho.
The scrolling light words on the floor say
The King is dead.
King Herod died in his palace in Jericho in April of 4 BCE.
His body was laid out on a golden bier encrusted with gems.
Wrapped in purple, with a crown on his head and a scepter beside his right hand, he departed for his final journey from Jericho to Herodium accompanied by his family, army, and servants.
At Herodium the mausoleum and sarcophagus he had prepared for himself awaited him.
We invite you to join us on the King's final journey. . . .
On the book cover is the truncated cone of the Herodion in the Judean desert.
An old photo shows archaeologist Ehud Netzer z"l on site many years ago.
As the museum website summarizes --
The first exhibition entirely dedicated to Herod the Great, Israel’s greatest builder and one of the most controversial figures in Jewish history. Large reconstructions and new finds from Herod’s palaces in Herodium, Jericho, and other sites are on display. Exhibited to the public for the very first time, these artifacts shed new light on the political, architectural, and aesthetic influence of Herod’s rule (37–4 BCE). Herod’s tomb – discovered at Herodium after a 40-year search by the late Prof. Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University – holds pride of place. The exhibition is held in memory of Prof. Netzer, who fell to his death in 2010 on the site of his discovery.Have a gallery tour here.
Also see how Silvia Rozenberg, co-curator with Dudi Mevorah, explains in two minutes how they worked on this tremendous exhibition for four years.
Herod the Builder would be proud of them.
*UPDATE: Haaretz answers my question today (Jan. 1):
"This past Saturday, some 3,500 people checked out the exhibition and almost 440,000 visitors have passed through since it opened in February – a record for a single show at the Israel Museum, which expects the overall number of guests to reach 450,000 by closing day."