We traveled to DC just for a sneak peek of The Museum of the Bible, downtown’s newest high tech museum. Dedicated to making the best selling book of all time approachable to everyone, it opened to the public November 17, 2017. Here’s what you need to know: regardless of your faith, you must visit the Museum of the Bible!
10 Reasons You Must Visit the Museum of the Bible
Any preconceived notions around the museum experience were shattered upon entering the grand lobby. In one word: “WOW.” We had wondered, and many had asked, “How could a museum make the Bible come alive without being ‘cheesy’?” Everything we experienced was world-class. The architecture, including the “B” curve of the building design, the glass roof overlooking some of Washington’s most famous landmarks on the top floor and the elegant grand staircase, is impressive. Once inside, we were warm, (it was an unprecedented 25 degrees outside in November) welcomed, and surrounded by wonder.
1. The Gutenberg Gates at Museum of the Bible.
When you enter the museum, you’ll pass through the Gutenberg Gates, towering over 40-feet and gilded in bronze. Modeled after the the printing bed of the first page of Genesis from the original printing of the Gutenberg Bible, these gates tell a story. Replicas have traveled throughout the United States, from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City and even Times Square in New York, and right now, you can even see them on the National Mall!
Visualizing a printed page of the Bible has never looked so stunning. Fun fact: Did you know the Gutenberg press, the first ever printing press, was created so the Bible could get into the hands of common people? You’ll be able to visit the Museum of the Bible and see a replica of the Gutenberg press in action (and in this video.)
2. The Grand Lobby at the Museum of the Bible
Stepping foot into the Grand Lobby of the Museum of the Bible is to immerse yourself in a new type of Renaissance. You’ll experience the art of days of old with a modern and luxurious twist. The mesmerizing kaleidoscope LED ceiling in the lobby transports you to the Sistine Chapel, extraordinary European stained glass, a medieval gothic cathedral, and beyond. The ceiling rotates displays of cathedral ceilings from around the world. The grand staircase, embellished with Tiffany glass, is equally stunning.
3. The Restaurant at Museum of the Bible: Manna DC
Three words. Amazing Mediterranean food. (And Jen knows, she’s been to Greece!) Inspired by the foods mentioned in the Bible, the fast-casual dining establishment will inspire you with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Many of the options are kosher, and some produce is grown on the rooftop garden! We sampled a couple appetizers: they looked good and tasted even better.
The first was an ancient grains salad, quinoa topped with sun-dried black mission figs, toasted almonds, preserved lemon, honey citrus vinaigrette and a dollop of the Best.Tzatziki.Sauce.Ever. The smooth and savory pumpkin soup with coconut milk, curry spice and cumin is worth a trip to DC all on its own. Can I mention the coffee shop? The mezzanine is home to #MilkandHoneyDC cafe, with tasty specialty coffees and desserts. #JesusisaCoffeeLover
4. The World Stage Theater at Museum of the Bible
This spacious and state-of-the-art theater allows for an amazing auditory and visual experience. This theater will also be home to the kickoff of the award-winning Broadway Musical, Amazing Grace, as their starting point on their national tour. Tickets to the show will also guarantee you a time to enter and view the museum. We had a sneak peek of the Amazing Grace dress rehearsal. Check out this Facebook live video of the stage set to hear the director, well, directing.
5. The Old Testament Experience at Museum of the Bible
Undoubtedly the most creative and engaging rendering of The Old Testament ever experienced. Both high-tech and historically accurate, the dawn of creation will shake you! This 40-minute immersive journey brings to life in full dimension the major tales of the Old Testament, from Adam and Eve’s disobedience to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and beyond. Combining old and new through history and technology (especially the lights!) has certainly, in our opinion, made the Bible approachable and engaging to everyone! You’ll be awestruck at the burning bush, in itself a reason to visit! The Old Testament contains many books, but tells one story, the people’s journey back to God.
6. New Testament Experience
This experience begins with a twelve-minute New Testament video narrative. We missed the video as we only had four hours to see the entire 430,000- square foot museum which executive director Tony Zeiss says would “take nine eight-hour days to see (the museum) in it’s entirety.” We’ll definitely have to catch the film the next time, but blogger Sami Cone describes it as “deeply simple and yet profound.” We were pleasantly intrigued with the realistic walkthrough (and even seaside view) of life in Nazareth, including displays about the importance of wine, olive oil, water and the gathering table.
7. The History Room
Walking amongst the incredible architecture and underneath the gothic ceilings, the room breathes with ancient truths. From captivating cases filled with archaeological finds dating back to centuries old BC and stunning translations, there’s something that will move the soul of everyone, regardless of faith. Witness an original Geneva Bible, a true piece of American history that would’ve been present on the Mayflower. There’s also a working replica of the Gutenberg press, a facsimile of a Rosetta Stone tablet, hundreds of ancient texts on scrolls, authentic pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, hundreds of different artifacts, a display of art becoming incorporated into the Bible, and SO much more!
8. The Impact of the Bible on the World
The Impact of the Bible reaches farther than just Christendom. It has a massive effect on the world. In fact, nothing has more greatly impacted education than the Bible. In this interactive exhibit, you’ll grasp a deeper understand of how culture, fashion, communities, politics, and education have all been significantly influenced through the words in the best-selling book of all time. Witness pieces of American and world history intertwined with Biblical words, including a full-sized replica of the Liberty Bell and the original written text of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Culture around the world, from fashion to music has been marked by the Bible. You’ll even witness Elvis Presley’s actual book, along with Steve McQueen’s and Billy Graham’s! Check out the playlist inspired by the Bible, and interactive displays featuring videos, artifacts, and high-tech examples to engage all.
9. The Children’s Area at the Museum of the Bible
Called Courageous Pages, the major theme of this area is courage. This 2,000 square-foot exhibit was an absolute blast! It tells biblical stories in a fun and interactive way. There is one game where you have to fling a foam ball into the hole in Goliath’s head with a “sling.” These thirteen engaging kid’s activities, “designed to be nothing but simple mechanics…contain rolling balls and levers, knobs and dials, pencils and paper—all created specifically for Museum of the Bible with the input of child development and education specialists and built from scratch by JMC craftspeople and artisans.” Think carnival games taken up a notch! This area is enjoyable for the young and the young at heart!
According to a Museum of the Bible press release, the Courageous Pages children’s area is purposely designed low-tech and high-touch. It reads, “Courageous Pages is not just a place for tired parents to catch a breather while their children play. This area has been designed to maximize both children’s enjoyment and their learning through a series of fun games and interactive features, all pointing to one continuous theme: courage. The area is geared to show kids the Bible is packed with stories and people who dug deep and did what they believed was right, even in the face of fear or opposition.”
10. Washington Revelations- The Panoramic Flyover View of Washington, DC
“A breathtaking panoramic flight above and around the nation’s capital reveals the biblical texts and imagery that embellish some of Washington, DC’s most important landmarks,” reveals the Museum of the Bible’s interactive website. It wasn’t open for our preview evening, but trust me: don’t miss it! This incredible simulator ride was developed by the same people who made Soarin‘, the incredible simulator at Disney.
You never know, on your visit to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, you might have your own burning bush experience. As Moses was called to free the Israelites, we were called to take a pilgrimage to the Museum of the Bible. Make it a part of your journey, as well.
If You Go to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC:
- It’s free, but donations are welcomed. Just make sure and book your timed tickets online in advance.
- Strollers and wheelchairs are easily accessible.
- Arrive early and expect long waits toward the beginning.
- Pack light so your belongings can fit in the high tech baggage security checkpoint, and you’ll pass through metal detectors.
- There is a coat check.
- You can make a group reservation with early admission by calling Kelly Martin at 202-848-1553
- Plan to spend an entire day, and plan to return more than once. You won’t be sorry.
- Kids will love the high-tech experiences, and remember to utilize the children’s area.
- Connect with the responsive Museum of the Bible team ahead of time on social media. They’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Youtube and by using the hashtags #MuseumoftheBible and #GutenbergGates
- Make it to the sixth floor (which is the eighth story) for an incredible view from the glass rooftop of the Capitol and the Washington Monument. Hit it at sunset for an even more stunning experience.
- Preview some of the videos on MOTB.TV so you’ll arrive with a game plan to make the most of your day.
- The Federal Center Station Metro stop is just outside the museum, three blocks south of the Capitol
- The address is 409 3rd St SW C-700, Washington, DC 20024
Hours of Operation for the Museum of the Bible
- Patron and Group hours: 8:00am -10:00am Monday – Saturday
- General Public hours: 10:00am – 7:00pm Monday – Saturday
- 10:00am – 7:00pm Sunday
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas, Close at 4pm on Christmas Eve
Two years ago, Jen heard Steve Green, Hobby Lobby president and founder of the Museum of the Bible, speak about the vision at a conference. Last year, we sent a writer on a hard hat tour. According to a Washington Post article, Green’s plan to base the Museum in the heart of our nation’s capitol was strategic, “As many people as we can educate about this book, the better,” Green said. “I think seeing the biblical foundations of our nation — for our legislators to see that, that a lot of that was biblically based, that we have religious freedoms today, which are a biblical concept, it can’t hurt being there.”
Now, the day is here for YOU to experience this unparalleled journey though the Bible! Come share with us about your experience when you return!
This post was a collaboration between Jen Reyneri and Melissa Edgett, who were invited guests of the Museum of the Bible for a social media grand opening preview. All opinions are unbiased.