Museum of the Bible brings God’s Word to life
Museum of the Bible brings God’s Word to life
BY BENNETT ROLAN | BSF BLOG EDITOR
I n the heart of Washington D.C., Genesis 1 soars 40 feet above street level, engraved on the Museum of the Bible’s bronze entrance. The text reminds us that God’s Word stands firm in a changing culture. That narrative continues throughout this spectacular facility, where cutting-edge technology and interactive displays present the Bible’s impact on human history.
“It’s a safe place to come and engage with a Book that’s been speaking for itself for thousands of years,” Museum of the Bible CEO Ken McKenzie said. “We are hoping to instill a hunger and desire to understand God’s Word.”
Through immersive exhibits, the Bible and its history come to life as visitors walk through a first–century village, view live performances and explore a multitude of ancient and modern artifacts. Museum officials estimate it would take nine 8-hour days to view the entire collection.
“I really enjoy meeting with a blend of people who also say, ‘This is my Book,’ ” Ken said. “Walking through the museum, you might meet a group of nuns, an archbishop from the Armenian church or BSF class members. They all have different ways of looking at faith, but the one thing that brings them together is the Book.”
For one Amish family, a virtual reality exhibit of Israel fulfilled a life-long dream.
“As they were walking out, one woman said, ‘As Amish, we don’t travel very far, and I’ve always dreamt of visiting the Holy Land. Now that I’ve done this, I’ve been there,’ ” Ken said. “The museum was able to give her an experience she wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
A Capital Presence
The concept for the museum began in Dallas, when two private collectors planned to showcase biblical artifacts in a short-term exhibition. The plan for a permanent museum took root, and early benefactors scouted properties in Dallas, New York and Washington, D.C.
“Washington was chosen because of the relevancy of the museum itself,” Ken said. “I can’t think of a better time than now to point people back to the Bible. It’s a book about hope, and I think that’s a multi-generational message that resonates with people, especially in the nation’s capital.”
The museum’s purpose is to educate visitors about the Bible’s unique divine content, relevance and impact on history and culture.
From an academic perspective, the museum does not avoid controversial history. In one special exhibit, a highly edited Bible featuring only 232 chapters, called The Slave Bible, sits across from The Lincoln Bible, an iconic symbol of freedom.
The Slave Bible, created in 1808, includes out-of-context passages about slavery and was used by slave traders to reinforce the evil institution. In contrast, The Lincoln Bible, featuring an ornament of Abraham Lincoln breaking the chains of slavery, was purchased by a group of freed slaves in 1863 to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation.
“To get the full grasp of the history of the Book, our curatorial staff is committed to representing the entirety of the Bible’s impact,” Ken said. “In doing so, we can present the Bible as an exceptionally wonderful book that has been misapplied and misused in human hands. The display shows that the Book’s entire narrative is necessary to understand God’s story.”
Unity in the Word
From ancient artifacts to modern culture, the museum presents one defining theme: the Bible’s ability to unite those who believe its truths.
“One thing that the museum does well is to encourage people to understand other points of view,” Ken said. “I would say it encourages Christians to see how the book has impacted other people and other areas of life. Then we can see what we have in common, instead of looking at what separates us. Understanding the Bible’s significance in the big scheme of things just adds to the richness of what it means to be a follower of Christ.”
The Museum of the Bible encourages visitors to engage more deeply with God’s Word and others. Whether we’re making a trip to Washington, D.C., or simply accessing collections and tools online, the Museum of the Bible’s exhibits give us a unique opportunity to discuss God’s Word with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.
For those who want to explore the museum’s exhibits without traveling to Washington D.C, there are several resources available at museumofthebible.org
The Impact of the Bible
The Stories of the Bible
The History of the Bible
Fifth – Sixth Floors
World Stage Theater
Stations of the Cross (ends May 27)
Amazing Grace – The Musical
The Book Minute
Spend a minute with one of the best-selling books of all time with The Book Minute from Museum of the Bible. These powerful videos will deliver the history, narrative and impact of the Bible straight to your inbox every Monday.