The Museum of the Bible is a museum being constructed in Washington D.C. documenting the narrative, history and impact of the Bible. The museum is set to open in November 2017. The Museum Collection claims to have amassed one of the largest assemblies of biblical artifacts and texts in the world through collaborations between private donors, institutions and other museums.
The Museum is non-sectarian, non-political, and claims it will not proselytize. The president of the Museum of the Bible, Cary Summers noted, "Our goal is straightforward: reacquaint the world with the book that helped make it, and let the visitor come to their own conclusions. The Museum of the Bible is a global education institution that invites all people to engage in the Bible. We don’t exist to tell people what to believe about it".
HistoryThe Bible Museum was established as a nonprofit in 2010. The museum’s building location and design were announced in 2012 when the Green family purchased a warehouse two blocks from the National Mall that used to be the Washington Design Center in Washington, D.C. The estimated $400 million dollar project is updating the historically protected structure as well as adding two additional floors and a rooftop café and garden. The building's 1923 original red brick, architecture and ornamentation was restored to original condition, with new brickwork imported from Denmark. The primary building was awarded historical status by the District's Historic Preservation Review Board. The glass-enclosed rooftop will offer views of the United States Capitol, the Washington Monument and several Smithsonian museums. The construction efforts have been led by Clark Construction, a nationally renowned building and renovation firm. Previous projects include the White House Visitors Office and several Smithsonian museums. The architectural design team is led by SmithGroupJJR, whose portfolio also includes several Smithsonian museums as well as the International Spy Museum.
The exhibitions will offer a scholarly perspective on the impact of the Bible in history. Bible scholar David Trobisch director of the museum's collections will advise on new acquisitions, identify the storylines for the museum's exhibits and supervise a team of 30 scholars and curators. Indiana Wesleyan University professor Jerry Pattengale will serve as Executive Director of Education Initiatives. The Museum also has an external board of advisors, and works with Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, and other religious and secular institutions.
Each of the 6 floors in the museum will contain a different exhibit which emphasizes different aspects of the Bible’s history or impact. This includes three permanent exhibit floors, each measuring 55,000 square feet (5,100 m²). The first floor will combine ancient artifacts with modern technology to immerse the participant in the Bible. The front entrance on 4th Street SW features 40-foot (12 meter) tall, 2.5 ton (2,300 kg) bronze front doors with stained glass art containing a relief depicting the creation account in Genesis. There is also a grand lobby with a 200-foot (60 meter) LED ceiling allowing for changing visual effects and messages. The second floor will focus on the Bible’s impact on world culture and history. The third level will present the general narrative of the Bible from Abraham through the creation of Israel to the ministry of Jesus and the early church. This floor will also contain a large Jewish Bible section. The fourth floor will present biblical history and archaeology. The curators of the Museum of the Bible have stated that this section will not try to twist secular archaeology to support passages in the Bible, but will rather present the facts and let the viewer decide on accuracy. The fifth level will contain a performing arts theater with a 500 person amphitheater. The museum plans to sponsor scholarly lectures as well as multimedia performances relating to the Bible. The fifth floor will also contain separate exhibit space for displays presented by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Level six will contain rooftop viewing areas overlooking the National Mall and U.S. Capitol, stained glass exhibits and a ballroom that seats 1000 guests. The museum's artifact research facility and reference library will be located in a one-story addition to the roof of a neighboring office complex.
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