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Biblical history nestled in neon buzz

Ancient history competes with Broadway glamor in New York's Times Square.

Visitors approach the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at Discovery Times Square in New York. The exhibit opened Oct. 28 and will run through April 15, 2012.

Ann Hermes/Staff

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Ancient scrolls might seem to have a hard time competing with Broadway glamour for tourist dollars. But that's just what Discovery Times Square is trying to do.

In the two years since it opened, the for-profit exhibition space in New York City's theater district has drawn more than 1.5 million visitors to exhibitions on subjects ranging from Harry Potter to King Tut, Leonardo da Vinci to Pompeii, making it the fourth most attended museum in New York, home to some of the world's finest museums.

Discovery's next exhibition is likely to feature China's life-size Terra Cotta Warriors, which date back to the 3rd century BC.

"We are trying to find that sweet spot between educational, intellectual, entertaining, and emotionally engaging exhibits," says James Sanna, the chief executive of Discovery Times Square.

Partnering with governments and nonprofit organizations, as well as cable TV's Discovery Channel, Discovery Times Square seeks out exhibitions that are academically rigorous and educational but at the same time deeply compelling.

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