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Museum of the Bible opens in D.C.

Museum of the Bible

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (BP and local reports) — Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders from the U.S. and Israel joined Museum of the Bible board chairman Steve Green Nov. 17 to dedicate the eight-story attraction in Washington. D.C., in advance of the public opening over the weekend.

“We only have one mission: that’s to invite all people to engage in the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible,” said Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers during an October panel discussion the museum hosted. “It’s a non-sectarian approach, and you draw your own conclusions after visiting here.”

On average, visitors would have to spend nine eight-hour days in the $500 million-plus museum to read every placard, see every artifact, and experience every activity offered, according to an official museum fact sheet.

Guests enter the museum on the first floor through the nearly 40-feet high Gutenberg Gates, comprised of 118 brass panels inscribed in Latin with the first 80 lines of Genesis. The script is written in reverse to encourage guests to create souvenir rubbings, according to the museum’s website.

Also on the first floor, children can “walk on water” in the nearly 2,200-square-foot Courageous Pages children’s exhibit. Walking on Water, one of 13 Courageous Pages areas of interest, technologically creates the illusion of a watery surface where children may stand and inspect animated marine life below, according to museum publicity.

The second floor’s 27,000 square feet of exhibit space demonstrates the Bible’s influence “on nearly every aspect of life,” according to museum promotions.

A 254-foot-long tapestry telling the Bible’s place throughout American history is a focus of the second floor, which also showcases the Bible in worldwide culture, government, and contemporary news.

“The Bible is the best-selling, most-translated book of all time and is arguably history’s most significant piece of literature,” Green has said of the Bible. “It has had an unquestionable influence on science, education, democracy, arts, and society.

“This book has profoundly impacted lives across the ages, including my own.”

Steve Green is a member of the family that owns Hobby Lobby and several other enterprises. The family is known for successfully fighting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court against the Obama administration’s attempt to force companies to provide abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives to all employees.

Successive museum floors include a wide array of attractions, including walk-through theatrical exhibits immersing visitors in Bible stories, Bible history displays comprising 600 artifacts and 50 media programs, a 472-seat World Stage Theater, a 3,000-square-foot biblical garden, and a café offering Bible-inspired fare.

Smithsonian.com has described the venue as one of nine “must-see” museums opening in 2017.

Among those who gathered alongside Green, who is Southern Baptist, were:

  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington.
  • Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben, a Presbyterian and chief of chaplains of the U.S. Navy.
  • Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America.
  • U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, a Seventh Day Adventist.
  • U.S. House of Representatives Chaplain Pat Conroy, a Jesuit priest.
  • Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.
  • Yariv Levin, Israel’s Minister of Tourism and others.

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