The family behind Hobby Lobby craft stores will open a Bible museum in Washington, D.C. in 2017 which will contain a variety of ancient religious artifacts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the New York Times, Hobby Lobby president Steve Green decided to open the museum after collecting ancient religious manuscripts, including papyri, Torahs and Bibles, from around the world.
While Green spent $30 million when purchasing the artifacts, the items are now worth far more, said archeologist and historian Scott Carroll. Known as The Green Collection, the items comprise the world's largest private collections of rare Biblical texts and artifacts. Included is the second largest private collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls and one of the largest holdings of unpublished Biblical papyri in the world.
"You're talking about landmark acquisitions," Carroll told the newspaper in a recent interview. ""These are huge things that any museum, to have a portion of them, would be honored to have."
To showcase the collection, Green purchased a 400,000-square-foot-space for $50 million back in 2012. The building is located two blocks south of the National Mall and is within walking distance of many prominent buildings including the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Green, who believes the Bible is "a reliable historical document," says he is also developing a Bible curriculum for America's public schools to "reintroduce this book to this nation."
"This nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught," the Hobby Lobby owner said in a speech last year in New York. "There are lessons from the past that we can learn from, the dangers of ignorance of this book. We need to know it. If we don't know it, our future is going to be very scary."
The Green Scholars Initiative, the nonprofit group backing the curriculum, said it will be postponing the release of the curriculum until January due to "unforeseen delays."
Jerry Pattengale, editor of the four-year high school level curriculum, stated that the idea for a Bible-based curriculum followed closely on the heels of the museum proposal.
"The curriculum is a logical extension of our museum and parallels its design, which will have one floor dedicated to each of [the] following: the history of the Bible, its narrative and its impact," she said according to the Associated Press.
According to reports, local officials are pleased with the museum endeavor. Rachel Reilly Carroll, who is on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission whose district includes the museum site, said that the proposed design had drawn an enthusiastic response from residents because it would "rehabilitate the building's imposing exterior and create a new public space."