Museum of the Bible – World’s Largest Museum Dedicated to the Bible Marks Grand Opening in US Capital.
Museum of the Bible – World’s Largest Museum Dedicated to the Bible Marks Grand Opening in US Capital
One day before Museum of the Bible opens to the public, a diverse group of faith and secular leaders from around the world gathered at the eight-story, 430,000-square-foot museum in Washington to dedicate the newest museum in the nation’s capital in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Those joining in the celebration in the museum’s 472-seat, technologically advanced World Stage Theater included Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben, chief of chaplains of the U.S. Navy; Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America; U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black; and Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers, Executive Director Tony Zeiss, Ed.D., and Chairman of the Board Steve Green welcomed guests and spoke about the vision of the museum.
“We want to take a moment to set our differences aside and say, here’s a book that has changed our world…impacted lives; and we want to celebrate it in this facility today. And when guests leave hopefully they will be inspired to get engaged with it,” Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Steve Green said.
“We created this museum to help our guests understand and appreciate the role of the Bible—not only in America, but globally,” Summers said.
“Our purpose is this: to invite all people to engage in this wonderful book we call the Bible,” Zeiss said. “Its history, its narrative and its impact. In fact, those are the three themes you will see throughout this museum.”
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “It is appropriate that in the nation’s capital where we have soaring museums and monuments and where people visit us from around the world that the Museum of the Bible would be built here.”
Cardinal Wuerl read a letter from Pope Francis: “His Holiness Pope Francis sends cordial greetings and prayerful best wishes to all gathered…for the inauguration of Museum of the Bible. It is his fervent hope that this significant cultural institution, through its extensive collections and exhibits, will promote a better understanding not only of the rich and complex history of the biblical text, but also the enduring power of its message to inspire and shape the lives of individuals and peoples of every time and place.”
The Israeli Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin
The Israeli Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin, shared a message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “This impressive building and the fascinating educational exhibits it contains is a fitting home for the thousands of religious texts and artifacts in your remarkable collection. By featuring Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and other faith traditions, the museum highlights our shared values and beliefs.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said, “Today, nearly two and a half centuries after America’s founding, we are gathered to celebrate the arrival of the Bible in your capital. … Just as the Bible has always been the most prized possession of the Jewish people, the Bible has always been cherished by the American people. The towering figures that are memorialized with monuments in this great city surely testify to that.”
The morning ceremony was followed by an official ribbon-cutting in front of the museum’s entrance.
Fact Sheet: Museum of the Bible
Washington’s Newest Museum
Museum of the Bible invites all people to engage with the Bible through museum exhibits and scholarly pursuits. Dedicated to the history, narrative and impact of the Bible, the museum, located at 400 4th St. SW, opened Nov. 17, 2017, three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Total square footage: 430,000
- Floors: 8 (including two basement levels and two new floors constructed on the existing rooftop)
- The museum is approximately 170 feet in height from the lowest level to the rooftop
- Central exhibit floors: 3 (History, Narrative and Impact of the Bible)
- Construction and property costs: More than $500 million
- Workers on-site daily at construction’s peak: 500 – 600
- Time it takes to read every placard, see every artifact and experience every activity in the museum: 9 days at 8 hours per day
- Floor height (in feet) needed to accommodate exhibits: 20 (approximately)
- Length (in feet) of giant LED ceiling screen running the expanse of the museum’s grand lobby: 140
- Biblical garden: 1 on rooftop
- Ballroom: Dinner seating for 420, lecture-style seating for 630
- Performing arts hall: 472 seats
- Number of biblical texts and artifacts on display on the History floor alone: More than 500
- Number of blocks from the National Mall: 2 (approximately three minutes walking)
- 2010: Museum of the Bible established as 501(c)(3) nonprofit
- March 2011: Museum of the Bible makes public debut to gathering of business, government, academic and religious leaders at the Vatican Embassy in Washington
- July 2012: Washington Design Center purchased for $50 million as site for forthcoming Bible museum
- Summer 2014: Museum architectural concept submission approved by the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, the local D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board; The Terminal Refrigerating and Warehousing Co. building also designated as a historical landmark by D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board
- December 2014: Crews begin interior demolition process, creating a blank slate for new exhibit build-out and working to lower the ground floor to accommodate basement levels and elevator shafts
- February 2015: Major construction begins with the start of demolition on 1980s-era addition to the historical former refrigeration warehouse that became the museum
- August 2015: Museum of the Bible announces long-term alliance with Israel Antiquities Authority to fill gallery space in museum
- Nov. 17, 2017: Opening date for Museum of the Bible
- Minus 2: Storage, administrative, research labs
- Minus 1: Short-term exhibit space, mechanical/electrical
- First floor: Lobby, atrium, orientation area, children’s gallery and affiliated libraries, mezzanine with coffee shop
- Second floor: Impact of the Bible gallery
- Third floor: Narrative of the Bible gallery
- Fourth floor: History of the Bible gallery
- Fifth floor: Long-term exhibit space for international museum galleries, performaning arts hall, Museum of the Bible offices, Scholars Initiative offices, conference hall
- Sixth floor: Biblical garden, viewing gallery, gathering room, restaurant
About Museum of the Bible
Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the Bible. On November 17, 2017, Museum of the Bible, which aims to be the most technologically advanced museum in the world, opened its 430,000-square-foot nonprofit museum just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. A digital fly-through of the Museum is viewable here. A 360-degree hardhat tour of the museum is available here.
For more information visit: museumofthebible.org.
Press Release from DeMoss and Museum of the Bible.