Museum History & Directors
Prof. David Thomas Murphy, Ph.D., Museum Director
Professor Murphy earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992. His research specialties are in the history of modern Europe, modern Germany, and the Holocaust. He is the author of three books: The Heroic Earth: Geopolitical Thought in Weimar Germany (Kent, 1997), German Exploration of the Polar World: A History (Lincoln, 2002) and Murder in Their Hearts: The Fall Creek Massacre (Indianapolis, 2011). He has also the author of numerous scholarly articles, including most recently "Hitler's Geostrategist? The Myth of Karl Haushofer and the Institut für Geopolitik" in the March, 2014 issue of The Historian.
Prof. Murphy has also been the recipient of grants from the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security, the Stiftung Volkswagenswerk, the Social Science Research Council, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
At Anderson University, he teaches courses on Western Civilization, the Holocaust, modern Europe, and the history of war in the Western world. He also serves as co-director of the Anderson University Honors Program, a post he has held since the Program began in 2004.
David Neidert, Museum Director (1992 to 2017)
David Neidert currently serves as the Museum’s director. Mr. Neidert has been teaching biblical studies and archaeology at Anderson University since 1989. Additionally, he currently teaches in the areas of leadership and ethics. Mr. Neidert began his career with Anderson University in 1978 as Director of Human Resources and Assistant Business Manager. Neidert currently serves the Anderson University School of Theology as Director of Admissions and Enrollment Coordinator.
David Neidert is a graduate of Anderson University (BA ‘77) and the Anderson University School of Theology (MA Rel ’87) where he concentrated in Old Testament and Hebrew language. He has also received a Certification in Management from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA (1990).
Mr. Neidert has traveled extensively in the United States as well as traveled in Canada, Mexico, Egypt, Israel and India. David Neidert is also the author of “Four Seasons of Leadership” (1999), three course manuals [archaeology—“What Mean These Stones;” hymnody—“Reformation’s Songs: Doctrinal Heritage through Church of God Hymnody;” and Bible—“The Life and Teachings of Jesus through Luke’s Gospel”] and co-authored “Metamorphosis” (2005).
Dr. Gustav Jeeninga, Founder and Director (1963-1992)
Dr. Gustav Jeeninga was the founder and director of the Jeeninga Museum of Bible and Near Eastern Studies. After founding the museum, he served as its director from 1963 to 1992. Dr. Jeeninga began his career with Anderson University in 1960 as professor of Biblical Studies, teaching both Old Testament and Archaeology until his retirement in 1989. He also became the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. During his 29 year tenure as a professor at AU, Jeeninga participated in six major archaeological digs. His archaeological focus was at Caesarea Maritima, Tel-Rumeith (Israel), and other sites in Jordan and Cyprus.
Dr. Jeeninga began his academic career in 1947 at Anderson University. He started graduate work in 1951 at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He eventually studied archaeology at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago (1954) and completed his Doctor of Theology at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1960.
Dr. Jeeninga was also a world traveler. He traveled around the globe in 1952-53 by airplane, taxi, bus, and hitch-hiking. Dr. Jeeninga also took interest in Mesoamerican architecture and culture in his later tenure with Anderson University.
The Jeeninga Museum of Bible and Near Eastern Studies is an outgrowth of Dr. Jeeninga’s own personal collection, acquired as aids for teaching the Old Testament. His personal collection, located in his office, was moved to a case in the University Library before finding a permanent home in the School of Theology in 1963.
Dr. Jeeninga was born in Treebeck, in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands, in 1924. He is the son of a Dutch coal miner and pioneer pastor of the Church of God (Anderson). In 1940, Germany occupied his homeland forcing him to serve Nazi Germany in Berlin. Dr. Jeeninga recounts these stories of Nazi Germany and other personal adventures in his book, “Doors to Life” (Anderson University Press, IN, 2002).