The Museum of the Bible opened in November of 2017. It sits on 430,000 square feet at 400 4th St. SW, Washington, DC. Construction began in 2015 and the eight-story building opened to great enthusiasm from people who traveled near and far to see its unveiling. The museum is home to 40,000 biblical and religious artifacts.
This 500-million-dollar museum was backed in large part by Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby. He purchased the former Terminal Refrigerating and Warehousing building in Washington, DC because he knew it was in prime location, just blocks from major museums in the DC area. The building was then gutted, two floors were added, and a glass atrium was constructed on top for the rooftop garden. His vision was to create a space where people would encounter the Bible from a strictly “journalistic” point of view. He wanted historical data and artifacts, along with documents and ample amounts of information. He wanted the public to encounter the Bible from a non-evangelical perspective and then make their own assumptions on its divinity and truth.
“There’s just a basic need for people to read the book,” Green told the Associated Press. “This book has had an impact on our world, and we just think people ought to know it, and hopefully they’ll be inspired to engage with it after they come here.”
Green also said to the Chicago Tribune, “The museum has fence posts – limits. It doesn’t overtly say the Bible is good – that the Bible is true,” said Steve Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby and the chair of the museum. “That’s not its role. Its role is to present facts and let people make their own decisions.”
Upon walking up to the entrance of the museum, you will find two, 40-foot sheets of bronze hung on either side of the door. These metal sheets display relief lettering of Scripture in Latin. This harkens back to the Gutenberg printing press and the beginning of mass production of the Word of God. It’s the public’s first encounter with the historic nature of the museum.
Once inside, the guests will encounter one of the largest collections of Bibles under one roof. This selection contains Bibles ranging from the largest in the world, Elvis Presley’s personal Bible, and Dead Sea Scroll fragments to Babe Ruth’s Bible and the most in-depth collection of Torah scrolls.
There are also rooms dedicated to bringing the Scripture to life. Guests can experience the Bible in various ways in different rooms. One room is painted to resemble the dead sea, and viewers walk through as though they were walking along the shore. They can also experience a walk-through replica of a village from the time of Jesus. The very first exhibit that arrived was a reproduction of the Liberty Bell. The bell weighs 3,200 pounds and had to be lowered into the museum while the building was still under construction and the roof not entirely finished. There are galleries on subjects such as “Amazing Grace,” along with a room of the Stations of the Cross. Guests can also experience a recreation of the burning bush and Noah’s ark, as well as a rooftop garden which showcases Bible-inspired plants. There are so many ways to experience the Bible in the museum.
In addition to the exhibits and artifacts, there is a restaurant called the Milk & Honey Cafe geared toward featuring foods from Biblical times. The menu will change based on seasonal and regional foods and allows people to interact with the Bible in ways that few have experienced before. It’s a wonderful idea and a truly hands-on experience for visitors.
The vision for the Museum of the Bible has been years in the making. The steps to get here were long and hard, but after all the collecting of artifacts, designing of exhibits, and construction of the space, the museum is a wonderful display of all the Bible has to offer. To see the website for the Museum of the Bible, please click here. To acquire tickets, click here.
Featured Image by Crew