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Noah’s Arks Like You’ve Never Seen Before - The Art of the Ark

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

A pair of unicorns are poised on the deck. Noah, with African features, stands by the gangplank to his Ark. An entire ark shaped like a Chinese dragon. These are just a few of the extraordinary artistic treasures that appear in a new exhibit at the Biblical Museum of Natural History near Beit Shemesh, “The Art of the Ark.” Don't miss it! Book your tour today!

The Art of the Ark

Dedicated in memory of Anne Samson

The museum has amassed a unique collection of over 100 artistic representations of Noah's Ark. The exhibit is divided into several sections, exhibiting different aspects relating to art, geography, Biblical interpretation, and conservation.

One section, “The Beauty of the Ark,” displays a variety of artistic models. These range from minuscule pewter figures to enormous elaborate arks with many dozens of hand-carved animals.

Some of them feature unusual species such as sloths, anteaters, and duck-billed platypuses, concentrating many dozens of species together in an amazing display of the diversity of the animal kingdom.

One model is an ark under construction, with Noah and his family diligently hammering away, elephants hauling the lumber, and beavers gnawing it into shape.

One set of arks is made by an artist who reimagines the Biblical boat as different vehicles - a hot air balloon, a cruise ship, a crowded Volkswagen, an airship, a biplane (on which the animals cling on for dear life, wearing flight goggles).

Another section, “Arks around the World,” features an extraordinary range of Arks that are divided according to the geographic region in which they were made. The arks reflect both the human culture and the wildlife of those regions. African arks, carved from hardwood or woven from plant fiber, feature African Noahs and Na’amas (Noah’s wife), along with giraffes, wildebeest, warthogs, and other such African creatures.

A Chinese ark in the form of an ancient oriental dragon boat features Chinese Noah and Na’ama along with pandas, tigers, and Asian water buffalo.

South American arks, with Spanish architecture, feature llamas, toucans, and are adorned with panpipes.

North American arks house bison, skunks, and bald eagles.

There is even an Arctic ark, with reindeer, snowy owls, and polar bears!

All these reflect a central theme of the museum, which is that everyone’s perception of, and cultural relationship with, the animal kingdom is influenced by the region of the world in which they live.

A third section, “The Biblical Ark,” displays a scale model of the Ark as described in the Bible, along with religious artwork depicting the Ark. And in “The Power of the Ark,” visitors learn about how this Biblical story has become a motif for conservation worldwide, along with a model ark that features exclusively endangered species – and a dodo who stares forlornly at the boat that he missed.

The “Art of the Ark” exhibit will be formally launched at the Biblical Museum of Natural History later this year but is open for viewing.

Click here to book tickets - The Art of the Ark exhibit is included on your museum tour in our Hall of Wonders. Visits to the museum are by appointment only!

The Biblical Museum of Natural History Choshen Street, Har Tuv, facing Beit Shemesh 073‑213‑1662

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