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Visiting the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC
The new state-of-the-art museum in the nation’s capital opens Nov. 17 and focuses on the history, narrative and impact of the Bible.
What and where is the Museum of the Bible?
As soon as you enter the Museum of the Bible through its 40-foot bronze doors, its majesty is undeniable. The grand lobby is long and awe-inspiring, with a digital display on the ceiling that rotates through colorful designs throughout the day. Upon your opening stroll, you will immediately be aware that you have entered a museum like no other in the nation’s capital.
The Museum of the Bible’s goal is to educate the public on the history of the Bible, its many narrative forms and its impact on societies around the world. The 430,000-square-foot museum is a wonder of design and architecture, the combined work of seven design firms. The building is located at 400 4th Street SW, a short walk from the Federal Center SW Metro station on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines.
The museum officially opens on Nov. 17. From that day through Dec. 31, museum hours will be 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. from Monday - Saturday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday. Starting Jan. 2, 2018, the hours will be 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily, except for Thursdays, when the museum will stay open until 7 p.m. The museum will close at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and will not open on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day.
Admission to the Museum of the Bible is free, but donations are highly suggested. Please note that timed passes are required for entry into the museum. You can reserve timed entry tickets and make group reservations on the museum's website.
What’s inside the Museum of the Bible?
After you journey through the visual sensation that is the museum’s lobby, you can walk up marble stairs or take an elevator to any of the exhibit floors. We recommend starting at the History of the Bible galleries, which begin on the fourth floor. Elevator riders are in for a treat: inside, a video screen rotates its images as you ride up, with music playing to set the mood for your exploration.
The History of the Bible includes more than 600 artifacts inside its 11 galleries. Numerous media programs let you dig even deeper, including films and interactive touch tables. Discover the development of the Bible, from its use among small groups of people to its translation into hundreds of languages around the world. Find out how the text has been translated and shared, its influence on the Renaissance, the rise of the King James version and more. The space also features a 75-seat theater, where you can watch TV personality Dave Stotts go on a history-seeking adventure.
Head down one floor and you will find the Stories of the Bible section, which is divided into three areas: The Hebrew Bible, The New Testament and The World of Jesus of Nazareth. The first of the three is a 14,000-square-foot deep dive into the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, featuring settings inspired by art using high-tech visuals. Guests will be immersed in the stories of Biblical figures like Noah, Abraham and David.
The New Testament features interactive posters of key characters that reveal their stories, as well as a theater experience in a 124-seat venue. Inside, a 210-degree panoramic screen plays a 12-minute video featuring tales told by figures that interacted with Jesus in the New Testament. The World of Jesus of Nazareth is just that: a recreation of Jesus’ time, from the religious controversy that pre-dated him to Roman Rule to a courtyard, complete with a live, costumed docent and recreations of numerous aspects of a Nazarene village, including a synagogue.
On the second floor, you can fully explore the Impact of the Bible. The Bible in the World section uses 23 exhibits to show the undeniable impact that the book has had on cultures and countries all over the world. This includes art, architecture, fashion, family and more. Bible in America showcases a 254-foot long tapestry with striking illustrations that highlight the book’s influence on this country since its beginnings. Bible Now has curving screens and interactive tables, used to let guests share the impact of the Bible on their lives, as well as provide insight to how the Bible influences our world every day. Finally, Washington Revelations uses virtual reality technology to reveal where the Bible can be observed throughout the nation’s capital.
Your Museum of the Bible experience can continue well beyond the exhibits. The fifth floor features a 500-seat performance theater with mapping technology to enhance what is taking place onstage, as well as outstanding acoustics. The sixth floor contains Manna, which offers a menu inspired by Israeli cuisine from chef Todd Gray, co-founder of the acclaimed Equinox Restaurant. Manna is adjoined by a scenic Biblical Garden that can accompany seated and standing parties.
There’s also Milk and Honey Cafe on the first floor, where you can grab a quick bite or a cup of coffee. Lastly, there’s the Courageous Pages area for children, where adults can take a break and kids can play Bible-themed games.
After your visit to the Museum of the Bible, continue your exploration of DC's knowledge centers and discover even more museums in the nation's capital.