The highly-anticipated Museum of the Bible opens today in Washington, D.C. and promises to be accessible and engaging for all people, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Backed by Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green, the $500 million museum is located steps away from the National Mall and contains eight floors of biblical artifacts and exhibits from over the centuries.
Some of the exhibits include a replica of the Gutenberg Press, 400 historical artifacts that show how the Bible has changed over time, first editions of the King James Bible, fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll, and an interactive Nazareth village. It also features the rocker Elvis Presley's Bible, the world's biggest private collection of Torahs, and walk-through scenes of biblical stories such as Noah's flood.
"There hasn't been another building this close to the National Mall that has become available since we acquired it in 2012," Green previously told The Gospel Herald. "The location would be hard to beat. We just think God has gone before us and helped this building become available when He was ready for it...we just see God's hand in this whole process."
Additionally, the 430,000-square-foot museum includes a garden, a restaurant that serves "foods of the Bible", and a 470-seat theater that will open with the Broadway play "Amazing Grace." There's also a rooftop garden with plant varieties that are mentioned in the Bible.
With a $42 million investment in state-of-the-art technology, the Museum of the Bible aims to be the "most technologically advanced museum in the world," Green said.
"This is not your grandma's museum," he said. "If we just put a Bible in a language that I can't read under a glass case, it only grabs our attention for so long. This book has the most incredible story to be told, and one of the ways to make it alive, to make it engaging, is to use some of the leading technology that is available."
The museum, the result of seven years of planning, "is not about espousing any one faith," president Cary Summers told GH back in February. Rather, it aims to educate individuals about the Bible - presented as a historical document - and its impact throughout history.
"Whatever faith a person is, we think that there would be an interest in them understanding the world they live in and how this book impacted their world," Green said. "This is the best-selling book every year and of all time, there is no close second."
Admission to the Museum of the Bible is free, although the museum suggests a donation of $15.