A one-of-a-kind collection of museum-quality art and artifact replicas has found a permanent home at Columbia Bible College. With the cut of a ribbon, the Metzger Historical Collection was officially opened to the public on March 14 in the basement of Columbia’s Resource Centre.
The Metzger Collection contains more than 1,200 replicas of significant archeological artifacts and works of art. Items of note include a replica of the Rosetta Stone, displayed in the British Museum and famous for providing the key to unlock Egyptian hieroglyphs; and a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the first mass-produced book in Europe. Frederick Metzger (1920-2011) amassed and curated the collection over several decades with the aim of connecting art and world history to the biblical story. A Christian minister and missionary, Metzger was honoured for his efforts to rescue Jews in Nazi-era Germany and later to assist more than 4,000 Hungarian refugees in immigrating to Canada. Inspired by a 1967 trip to Israel, Metzger began to collect artifacts and artwork in the hope of helping the Greater Vancouver community engage with the biblical past in a more meaningful way.
Columbia Bible College became owners of the collection in 2012, fulfilling Fred and Florence Metzger’s dream of having a permanent home for the items.
“I’m very pleased with the way it can contribute [to the community],” said Ken Esau, director of biblical studies at the college. “We intend to use this for Bible study, illustrative of the biblical story.”
Esau added that he hopes the collection can be inspiring not only for Christians interested in biblical history, but useful as well for educating students of secular world history.
Jason Thomassen, a member of the Metzger Collection staff, commented that he thought Metzger was “inspired by his own vision: How do we make this world a better place ourselves?”
The Metzger Collection is open for public viewing Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and also by appointment.
Ken Esau, right, director of biblical studies at Columbia Bible College, cuts the ribbon opening the Metzger Collection to the public. At left is Greg Thiessen, collection manager. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)