A couple weeks ago, we drove down to Washington, D.C. to take in the new(ish) Museum of the Bible.
Conceived and funded by the family who owns HOBBY LOBBY, the Museum of the Bible is one of our capitol’s newest gems–and since it is privately funded/operated, it remains open during the government shutdown.
Entering the museum, one passes through the spectacular Gutenberg gates that feature the beginning of the book of Genesis, in Latin, as originally printed by the man who rocked history by creating movable metal type. (See gold surrounding main doors in photo above.)
Not to be outdone by the Gutenberg Gates, the 140-foot digital ceiling in the first floor is awe-inspiring.
Here, you can take in the Vatican Museums and Library if so inclined. We were not, so we moved on to the second floor, where traditional exhibits are housed and explore the impact of the Bible. From the history of the Bible in America to the history of the Bible in the world, one sees real artifacts that go back to B.C. as well as replicas.
This floor is a powerful tool in its presentation of the age of man. Since schools generally teach history in a weird twister/hopscotch manner as they bounce from year to year, grade to grade without rhyme or reason, these exhibits would crystallize the chronological order of things by way of the world’s most impactful literary masterpiece.
And if that isn’t enough to bring you here, maybe the Bible of a human king will do so–yes, Elvis’s Bible is in the building.
The third floor was our favorite. It was the most interactive, at times, almost Disney-like. In “The Hebrew Bible Experience” one is treated to a multi-media tour through the Old Testament. It is an intense, sensory-experience that requires some sitting and some walking. It runs thirty minutes and is well-worth any wait. (We had none. We were the only people there at the time.)
Also on the third floor was a full-scale replica of the world of Jesus of Nazareth.
Ever wonder what his home and his town was like? It’s all here. And we were fortunate enough to talk to a museum guard who had a breadth of knowledge about the time and place and was quite willing to share.
There’s also a film on John the Baptist that was animated and engaging for all ages.
The fourth floor is on the history of the Bible itself and how technology and culture have been shaped by God’s tangible word. The exhibits include over 50 interactive media opportunities as well as the Bibles of significant players through history (Luther, being my personal favorite. Just saying.)
A film presentation called Drive Through History traces the spread of God’s word. It is a bit reminiscent of Indiana Jones and worth the ten or fifteen minutes it runs.
The fifth floor houses temporary exhibits as well as a multi-media Bible reading experience.
The sixth floor features the Manna Restaurant, which offers middle-eastern fare (as well as a few American stand-by’s). It does not open until 11:30 AM, so if you need some nosh earlier, there is a cafe just up a few stairs off the lobby. Highly recommend the cafe’s hot ham and cheese croissant and also the gourmet grilled cheese. Each ran about $9. Chips and drinks were extra. Also offered, fancy coffee and tea drinks at normal Starbucks-style prices. All in all, not too bad given the locale.
After a good meal, take in an actual Biblical garden from which visitors can see the Capitol and the Washington Monument.
Admission to the museum used to be free and they encouraged folks to donate. Apparently, few did, because now there is a cost of admission.
Tickets purchased online ahead of time are $19.99 per person. If you purchase in-person on the date for which you wish to attend, tickets are $24.99.
A handful of attractions require extra tickets.
We were disappointed to find that the only one of these we really wanted to see, “Washington Revelations” was actually broken that day. Too bad. It offers a virtual ride through D.C.’s buildings where Biblical imagery and Scripture abounds. Given the push by atheists to strip God from our very foundations, I would love to see this.
Finally, don’t be surprised to find the museum walks a careful P.C. tightrope.
Case in point, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was not included in the History of the Old Testament.
There were a few other areas where Bible-reading, conservative Christians may walk away scratching their heads. But I suppose the philanthropists who funded this awe-inspiring project put a few conditions on its (at times lukewarm) final presentation. It is what it is.
So that was our day trip to D.C.’s Museum of the Bible.
As we emerged from a nearby underground parking garage ($20 all day–not too bad) it began to snow and the winds were blowing and howling.
We thought maybe it was that cold day in hell we’ve all heard about–you know, the one when the government shutdown-stalemate gets resolved, but no, it was just a foretaste of more cold wind and snow to come.
Thankfully, even in a cold, brutal landscape, the Word of God burns true.