Touring 430K SF Museum of Bible memorable

Published 1:37 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

What do rare ancient manuscripts of the Scriptures, a King James Bible from the year 1617, the first Czech Bible published in 1488, and Elvis Presley’s Bible have in common?

You can see these items on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. Located three blocks south of the U.S. Capitol, the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible opened its doors to the public on November 17, 2017.

According to the Washington Post, during its first six months of operation, the Museum of the Bible has had approximately 565,000 visitors. Two months ago, my husband and I toured the museum while on a trip to D.C.

The museum’s entrance features a pair of 40-foot high bronze doors (described as the height of upended school buses). The doors display gigantic replicas of the first page of Genesis on printing plates from the first book ever mass produced on a printing press – the Gutenberg Bible, published in 1455.

The Museum of the Bible does not highlight a doctrine or theology, rather its focus is the Bible itself – the best-selling book of all time. “Experience the book that shapes history.” That’s the invitation on the homepage of the Museum of the Bible.

In the lobby, you will read the words of Psalm 119:105 etched into the wall, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

On the first floor, children can tour “Courageous Pages.” “Children read, hear, see and experience stories in which small, courageous choices resulted in big victories.”

On the second floor, ‘”The Bible in America Exhibit” tells of the Bible’s impact throughout the American story. A 254-foot-long “tapestry illustrates key moments where the presence and impact of the Bible is found throughout American history. Key ideas, facts and quotes will be projected onto the tapestry, marked by central exhibit elements and artifact cases.”

One of my favorite experiences in The Museum of the Bible was on the third floor where you can visit the “World of Jesus of Nazareth.” It’s like walking back in time to Nazareth, where people in Biblical garb talk to you about Jesus. On the sixth floor, the “fast-casual restaurant, Manna, draws upon the complex flavors and vibrant spices of the Mediterranean.” The menu features food mentioned in the Bible.

The fourth floor features the “The King James Bible” gallery, which illustrates the story behind the English Bible, the most influential and widely read Bible for more than 350 years.”

Among the fascinating artifacts, you can see a New Testament in Pre-Braille, Volume I, 1898. This early edition of the Bible for blind readers was developed by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, husband of Julia Ward Howe, composer of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

You can find more about The Museum of the Bible at their website and on their Facebook page. As Billy Graham once said, “Most books are born, live a few short years, then go the way of all earth, they’re forgotten. But not the Bible.”


Jan White is an national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at