The new Museum of the Bible, rising six stories above the street with two more subterranean levels, just a few yards from the Capitol in the heart of Washington, is beginning to come to life.
Mario J. Paredes, Catholic consultant for the Museum of the Bible, explains that after “seven years of hard work” the “most technically advanced Biblical Museum in the world” is ready.
The inauguration is scheduled for November 17, 2017. Currently, the final touches are being put on this colossal work, thanks to the commitment of the Green family (the owners of Hobby Lobby), who have donated much of their fortune to make this possible.
On the roof of the Museum, there is a garden that reproduces biblical vegetation, and in total, as Mario Paredes explains, there are “more than 40,000 biblical and religious objects.”
Five hundred pieces stand out in particular; the Museum curators qualify them as “world-class, invaluable objects,” including writings from the time of Abraham and fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
There’s a bit of everything at the Museum, including Elvis Presley’s personal Bible and the first Bible to travel to the Moon.
Biblical experts from around the world will have access to study halls and conference rooms. The Museum has awarded a grant for a transcription project contributing to a new critical edition of the Greek-language New Testament. This is part of the work of the Museum’s research arm, the Scholars Initiative, which has the participation of 60 colleges, universities, and seminaries from around the world.
In one area of the Museum, various holograms reproduce Jerusalem and Nazareth; there are also areas especially for children.
This ambitious facility not only intends to spread the faith of the Bible; it also aims to highlight the cultural role that the Holy Scriptures have played in literature and art, as well as in civil rights and social justice.
The Museum aims to offer something of interest for everyone; not just Christians, but also agnostics and people of other religions will find, in this new exhibition space, interesting pieces and paths through the exhibits.
The Vatican is also involved—and not just starting now; years ago it sponsored one of the Museum’s traveling exhibits. In fact, this Museum will have a specifically Catholic floor, with treasures from the Vatican Library and other Vatican museums. Various pontifical universities in Rome have also committed themselves to offering scholarships.
The company in charge of developing the audiovisual and interactive components of the Museum has a history of successful collaboration with Universal Studies in Florida, Cirque du Soleil, the Hard Rock Cafe chain, and the Time Warner Center.
Steve Green and his father David—who donated part of their private fortune to build this Museum and acquire the majority of the pieces in the collection—don’t hide their commitment to the Christian faith, and hope that this center will make the importance of the Bible known to people around the world.
Last year, Steve Green, who is the president of Hobby Lobby, described to The Atlantic his hope that the Museum of the Bible will become “a beacon for all people to engage with the ideas and beauty of the Bible.”
Read more at The Bible doesn’t fit in a museum.