We are open to the public on Mondays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
We are located at the Pacific School of Religion, Holbrook Hall 1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709.
We strive to foster a greater understanding of and appreciation for the ancient biblical world through the preservation, research, interpretation, and presentation of artifacts recovered by our founder, William F. Badè.
“I would like to welcome you to the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion, located in beautiful Berkeley, California. For over 80 years, the Badè Museum has served as a window into the ancient past of Israelite society promoting education, public outreach, and research opportunities for scholars around the country. I encourage you to explore our website and consider a visit to our museum gallery whose intimate setting is ideal for the appreciation of artifacts and objects that originate from halfway around the world.”
The Museum will not purchase or provide assessments of artifacts. It will consider accepting collections or artifacts that have been acquired legally and ethically, along with accompanying documentation.
The Badè Museum Legacy
The Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology has been an integral part of Pacific School of Religion since the time the Museum was conceived. William F. Badè, professor of Old Testament literature and Semitic languages at PSR from 1902 until 1936, first founded the Palestine Institute (which would later become the Badè Museum) in 1927. The Institute was intended to provide research opportunities for Biblical scholars and archaeologists, using the collection of archaeological material that Badè brought back to Berkeley from the site he excavated in Palestine, Tell en-Nasbeh. Though the size and scope of the Badè Museum’s displays have fluctuated over the years, one thing that has not changed is the gallery and collection’s incredible value to students, scholars, and visitors alike as the largest collection of its type west of Chicago. This exhibit highlights the history of the Museum with a small display of photographs, newspaper articles, and brochures commemorating its various stages.
Crossing Borders 1935
Dr. William F. Badè, PSR Professor of Old Testament Literature and Semitic Languages, and his family left the San Francisco Bay Area in late December 1934 on a nine-month voyage around the world. The family spent four months in Palestine, then under the British Mandate, completing the work of the final season of excavation at Tell en-Nasbeh. Their remaining time abroad consisted of giving lectures at various institutions, visiting foreign cities, museums, and archaeological sites, and meeting PSR alumni. Given the challenges of international travel in the 1930’s, this journey was truly a special experience for the Badè family and afforded them the opportunity to cross numerous national, ideological, and cultural borders along the way. They arrived back in the Bay Area in late September 1935, having circumnavigated the globe.
The world that Dr. Badè and his family explored was on the verge of massive transformations manifested through the events leading up to, and through, World War II. The objects and photographs in Crossing Borders 1935 give us a glimpse into that world and hint at PSR’s global reach even eight decades ago.
Hospitality in the Near East showcases artifacts from Tell en-Nasbeh that illustrate the importance of hospitality in an ancient Israelite town. Themes such as gift giving and trading precious items from neighboring cultures, sharing elaborate meals between family and visitors, and the welcoming act of foot-washing are highlighted. In today’s world, with so many displaced people seeking refuge, there are relevant lessons we can learn from these ancient cultures which valued hospitality so highly.
Tell en-Nasbeh Exhibit
The exhibits on display at the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology take inspiration from the rich array of artifacts that make up the museum’s Tell en-Nasbeh exhibit.
This exhibit is the “heart and soul” of the Badè Museum. It displays a wealth of finds from the excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh, Palestine whose objects span from the Early Bronze Age (3100–2200 BC) through the Iron Age (1200–586 BC) and into the Roman and Hellenistic periods.
Highlights of the exhibit include “Tools of the Trade” featuring real archaeological tools used by Badè and his team, an oil lamp typology, a Second Temple period (586 BC–70 AD) limestone ossuary, a selection of painted Greek pottery, and a video compilation of original excavation footage from the 1926 and 1935 seasons!
The Museum circulates a loan exhibit of objects for use in teaching. The traveling exhibit includes artifacts and replicas from the original Tell en-Nasbeh excavations such as lamps, oil juglets, sling stones, and ceramic pitchers. Along with labels and display posters, an informative and entertaining DVD accompanies every exhibit describing excavation techniques and what we can learn from archaeological remains. Learn more here
The collections of the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology are rich in history, both ancient and modern. Spanning a period of some 3,000 years, the museum holds a phenomenal array of everyday artifacts such as cooking pots, grinding stones, lamps, and agricultural implements from ancient Palestine along with colorful Greek and Cypriot ceramics, scarabs from Egypt, and cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia.
The core of the Museum collection consists of materials from the site of Tell en-Nasbeh (most likely the biblical town of Mizpah), excavated under the direction of William F. Badè. Dr. Badè’s work at Tell en-Nasbeh represents one of the earliest scientific excavations in Palestine. With a permit from the British Mandate Government’s Department of Antiquities, he was able to spend five seasons there from 1926 to 1935 and excavate two thirds of the eight-acre tell, or mound, exposing a small town that had been occupied at the time of the Hebrew monarchy.
Mizpah, in the region of Benjamin, flourished from 1000–586 B.C., and a massive fortification wall, impressive gateway, three and four-room houses, family tombs, pottery, and metal artifacts in great quantity date from this period, known as the Iron Age in Palestinian archaeology. Of the hundreds of lamps, pitchers, bowls, jars, jewelry and cosmetic items found in the ruins of the town, about half were deposited at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, while others were shipped to Berkeley. Those on display in the Bade Museum provide graphic evidence of everyday activities in a provincial town of three thousand years ago, and offer instructive comparison with life in this century.
While the tell itself contained Iron Age, Babylonian and Persian Period artifacts, nearby tombs dated from the Early Bronze Age (3200–2000 B.C.) and the Hellenistic and Roman Periods (330 B.C.–324 A.D.). Some of these artifacts are on display, as well as representative pieces from other areas of the ancient Near East.
At the close of each season of excavation, after artifacts were removed, the soil was replaced on the mound. Only one section of the huge town wall, deliberately left exposed, is visible at the site today. Dr. Badè’s original intention that the excavation and its results become an educational resource is fulfilled through the Badè Museum and its on-going research of material from Tell en-Nasbeh, where important aspects of ancient households, gender, and daily activities can be understood in new and exciting ways.
The Badè Museum continues the work of William Badè and the former Badè Institute of Biblical Archaeology by engaging in on-going research with the permanent Tell en-Nasbeh collection. Much ongoing research of specific artifacts and object types from the collection is done by museum staff and visiting scholars. This work has led to numerous publications, exhibits, lectures on the collection.
Our research includes:
Dr. Aaron Brody
Robert and Kathryn Riddell Associate Professor of Bible and Archaeology
Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology
Past Staff, Interns, and Volunteers
- Rebecca Hisiger
- Tara Lewandowski
- Stephanie Brown
- Amy Vulcan
- Kiersten Neumann
- Melissa Cradic
- Christina Vander Vos
- Laura Fies
- Kay Schellhase
- Mary Kimber
- Celia Berghoffen
- Jeffrey Zorn
- Kevin Kaiser
- Kah-Jin (Jeffrey) Kuan
- Susan McGinnis
- Greg Tarin
- Cindy Ausec
- Joel Brown
- Beringia Zen
- Matthew Fox
- Victor R. Gold
- Kevin C. Koczela
- Todd Lesh
- Ruth Ohm
- Pamela Thomas
- Mary A. Tolbert
- Tim Fries
- Akemi Horii
- Brian Carmany
- Morgan Hunter
- Catherine Zanzi
- Tom Nootbaar
- Andrea Creel
- Catherine P. Foster
William Frederic Badè (1871–1936)
Professor of Old Testament literature and Semitic languages at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California from 1902 until his death and excavator of the site of Tell en-Nasbeh located northwest of Jerusalem (1926, 1927, 1929, 1932, and 1935)
Born in Carver, Minnesota, Badè spent his earliest years on a farm in the Midwest. In his youth he demonstrated academic interest and gifts, and studied diligently, mastering Latin and Greek. His academic abilities earned him an opportunity to attend the Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1892. He then enrolled in the Moravian Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1894.
Thereafter he learned Hebrew and soon went on to Yale to study the Near Eastern background of the Hebrew Bible. During two years there, he improved his knowledge of Hebrew and learned Arabic, Akkadian, Ethiopic and Aramaic. Eventually he came to read fourteen languages and speak, in addition to the English and German he had learned as a boy in his home, fluent French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Arabic. In 1898 he received his Ph.D. degree from the Moravian Theological Seminary and was subsequently appointed professor of Hebrew and Old Testament literature there until 1902 when he was invited to PSR.
With the end of World War I and the establishment of the British Mandate in Palestine, Badè realized that there would be increasing opportunities to excavate within the borders of ancient Israel. He saw archaeology as a valuable tool for correcting, revisiting, or confirming tradition and felt that seminaries should teach archaeology along with Hebrew, Greek, and literary criticism.
Although not trained as an archaeologist, Badè carried out his excavation at Tell en-Nasbeh based on the highest standards of his day. He cleared about two thirds of the site, intending to test its identification with biblical Mizpah of Benjamin, which is now generally accepted. The method he employed was the so-called Reisner-Fisher method, dividing the tell into 10-meter squares and excavating in strips. Following the excavation, the strips were filled in. Badè kept meticulous records, including plans, photographs, and descriptions of about twenty-three-thousand artifacts, all of them drawn to scale. Badè’s fieldwork ranks above the contemporary excavations at Beth-Shemesh and Beth-Shean.
Badè died after the final season at Tell en-Nasbeh so that the excavation’s final report was prepared by his colleague, Chester C. McCown, and chief recorder, Joseph C. Wampler. Badè’s publication of the site is generally limited to preliminary reports of the early campaigns and short articles on specific finds. Although many excavators before him had written brief summaries of their methodologies as prefaces or appendices to their reports, Badè’s A Manual of Excavation in the Near East was the first volume written as an independent account of the work of an excavation and the development of its methodology.
Badè’s work made significant contributions to the field of archaeology in his generation. His concern for systematic excavations and careful recording of data, as well as for training the next generation of archaeologists, provided a sound model for his colleagues. Although his methodology has been superseded as the field has advanced, his own dedication and work contributed to its advance in his own lifetime.
In addition to being a longtime teacher and scholar,and an archaeologist and excavator, William Frederic Badè was also a naturalist and outdoorsman, and a companion and biographer of John Muir. Berkeley aroused in him a love of nature, which led to a long-lasting friendship with John Muir, the well-known naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club. Consequently, Badè himself became deeply involved with the Sierra Club, holding the positions of editor for ten years and club president from 1918 to 1922. He strongly believed in upholding the Club’s principles of conservation and protecting the natural landscape. Papers and correspondence documenting Badè’s involvement with environmentalist committees can be found in the John Muir Archives at the University of the Pacific. Badè also had connections to what is now the the University and Jepson Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley.