What artefact will people stand in a kilometre long line-up to go and see?

At the corner of Bloor and Queens Park a security guard uses a blow-horn to yell out a warning the line-up to see the Ten Commandments is very long and theres no guarantee you will get to see it.

For those who dont have a membership at the Royal Ontario Museum, but want to see the commandments anyways, the line starts here, at this Toronto street intersection. Despite asizable lobby the museum simply isnt big enough to contain the people who want to buy a ticket this Saturday afternoon (Oct. 17).

I get to skip this particular line since I have a membership.

Once inside the lobby, the line assumes a snake shape, as people get close to the ticket counter. The museum is trying to keep the children from getting bored. Aperson dressed up as a green dinosaur plodstheir way over to entertain the children. The dinosaur has a museum staff identification badgearound its neck.

But, just when you thought youve gone through the worst of it, another line starts on the third floor. It starts in the Egyptian gallery, in the Middle Kingdom section working its way to the Predynastic section it than circles around the Book of the Dead exhibit. Museum staff members along the wayyell outthat an image of the scroll will be put online on Monday – along with a translation. (Note- Heritage Key has had it up for more than a week)

If youre still game for seeing the commandments after this (and everyone, that I can see,is),you have quite awaymoreto go.

The adults were dead silent as if they were at a religious service preparing themselves for an experience.

You would be surprised how calm people are through this. While I was waiting the adults were dead silent as if they were at a religious service preparing themselves for an experience. Scarcely a word comes from any of them despite the super-long wait. The children didn’t share their patience and periodically zipped away from the line to get a closer look at a mummy or one of the other Egyptian artefacts along our path.

Eventuallythe moment comes its hard to see the scroll because 20-30 people at a time are crowded around the display case. Its a tiny scroll no more than 30 cm wide that contains the second oldest copy of the commandments we have today. Ironically it was probably used for study or prayer, rather than as a canonical version of Deuteronomy.

A Toronto Policeman stands to the right of it at all times. Its very dark only a dim light fixture in the shape of a candle is above the displaycase. Photography is strictly forbidden when a man tries to take a picture using a camera the policemen tells him to put it away.

Again the crowd is dead silent. A staff member nearby is the only voice being heard telling people to take it in but not to take too long. I take about 30 seconds to look at it, I have to put my face near the glass to see any of the text and even then its pretty blurry. (The picture the ROM released to Heritage Key shows it better)

And then its over, I have to move on.

Iestimate that thosewho dont have a membership have to wait in nearly a kilometreof linedup people all to get a brief glimpse of this sacred scroll.