WASHINGTON – The massive Museum of the Bible, which opened Nov. 17 in Washington, has three main exhibit floors, lecture and meeting space, restaurants and a rooftop garden, a ballroom and a 472-seat theater with wraparound projection walls. The museum is located three blocks from the Capitol and was largely funded by the owners of the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain. The company president, Steve Green, said the museum is nonsectarian. Religion scholars and others will be combing the exhibits to see if that claim bears out.
Admission is free, although donations are requested. Here are some details about what to expect:
KIDS: A first floor children’s area highlights acts of courage depicted in the Bible and has a high-tech feature that projects a watery surface with marine life below. Children can walk across the image, creating the illusion of walking on water.
THE THEATER: The theater will open with the show “Amazing Grace,” a musical that played briefly on Broadway about John Newton, a slave trader and Anglican priest who wrote the Christian hymn of the show’s title and denounced the slave trade.
JESUS’ WORLD: An extensive exhibit aims to recreate what Nazareth looked like during the time of Jesus, including a mikveh, or ritual bath, and a courtyard depicting village life. People in period costume will guide visitors through the section.
POP CULTURE: The museum aims to highlight how the Bible has influenced people in ways they may not realize. On television screens, videos will play pop music songs with an explanation of the Bible verse that inspired the lyrics. Another section has high fashion inspired by Scripture.
FIND THE VERSE: A motion simulator called “Washington Revelations” creates the sensation of flying over the nation’s capital to see Bible inscriptions and references in buildings and monuments throughout the city.
THE VIEW: Along with a rooftop garden, a glass-walled atrium provides clear views of the Washington Monument and the Capitol.