Last Sunday my parents, my girlfriend, and I went to the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park to see the Dead Sea Scrolls that were on display there. Of course, not all of them were displayed at the same time but this is the largest Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit every to be displayed anywhere and it's right here in San Diego.
I was very glad that I have studied some Hebrew the past two semesters, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to fully appreciate how incredibly arduous a task it must have been to translate the text on the scrolls. If it weren't for the translation posted on the wall next to each station I would have only understood a word here and a word there. Viewing the exhibit was a once in a lifetime experience.
Seeing the scrolls helps put things into perspective. Among other things it shows what we're dealing with when we talk about translating the Bible and it shows us the work which went into preserving the texts, which were to them, stories of their identity. We often see the Bible as a book of who God is but how often do we see it as a book of who we are? To the Essenes (or whoever wrote/preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls) these texts were stories of how they got to where they were and where they were going. How precious these texts were!
If you get a chance you should really go see them, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.