By Barbara Dingle,
Jerusalem Channel UK Trustee
Situated in a prime Washington site, just a couple of blocks from the National Mall and the US Capitol in a 430,000 sq ft building, the new Bible Museum will covers eight floors– two underground which will house storage, labs, research, offices and special exhibitions.
Then in ascending order six floors: the Grand Hall and children’s area, Impact of the Bible, Bible Narrative, History of the Bible, performing art theatres and two restaurants with panoramic views of the Washington skyline appropriately called “Milk & Honey” and “Manna” with an adjacent biblical garden.
The museum will be very hi-tech, iPad-guided tours where the visitor can input time available and particular areas of interest. Vast digital floor and wall panels will all display an aspect of the Bible. At the main entrance, Psalm 19 (“The heavens declare the glory of God”) in several languages with ancient Hebrew overlaid near the entrance to welcome visitors together with Genesis 1 in the Vulgate’s Latin.
Says Museum President and entrepreneur, Cary Summers: “We’ve assembled the best in architectural, interior and environmental design to provide the Museum’s guests with an experience that is unique.”
Steve Green, chairman of the Museum’s Board, says, “The Bible is the best-selling, most translated and book of all time and is arguably history’s most significant piece of literature. It has an unquestionable influence on science, education, democracy, arts and society. This book has also profoundly impacted lives across the ages including my own.”
The museum collection already includes more than 40,000 items including some of the rarest and most significant biblical texts and artefacts ever found. Highlights include Dead Sea Scroll fragments, biblical papyri and manuscripts and rare printed bibles.
Three galleries will house artefacts from the Israel Antiquities Authority and items from Israel’s Bible Lands Museum including from the David and Goliath Valley of Elah.
Although the Museum is in Washington, there is good news for those in the U.K. too! A travelling exhibit will open in a redundant church near London’s Strand with rotating exhibits changing periodically.
According to Shannon Bennett, the Museum’s Director of Community Relations, “the Museum celebrates the Bible itself and crosses many different cultural lines – Jews, Christians, Catholics and Protestants -looking to serve them all together here which is something we all love.”
At a time when Bible literacy is declining, the museum will provide a great opportunity for all.
The Jerusalem Channel is grateful thanks to Museum of the Bible and Christian Desk at Yad Vashem for making this tour possible.