Following much anticipation, the Museum of the Bible finally opened its doors in Washington, D.C.
“Well good morning, everyone!” shouted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at the opening ceremony on Friday.
“I am delighted to be here to welcome you and to congratulate everyone involved on the opening of the Museum of the Bible. I bring greetings from the 680,000 Washingtonians who will also be able to enjoy this magnificent building and museum.”
The building truly is magnificent.
With a price tag of $500 million, the 430,000-square foot museum spans five floors and showcases numerous biblical artifacts from different eras.
On display, visitors can see an endless amount of biblical-related items, including replicas of Nazareth, Elvis Presley’s own Bible, religious artwork and much more.
The museum also boasts fragments of the renowned Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish texts that date back to the days of Jesus Christ — although controversy surrounds the authenticity of these scrolls.
The project received heavy financial backing from evangelical leaders, and funding for construction of the museum was done in large part by the Green family — the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain.
Steve Green, the current president of Hobby Lobby, is widely known for his legal battle against the Obama administration in defense of religious liberty in a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Green is also the museum’s founder and chairman.
A non-sectarian exhibit, the ceremony was celebrated by both Christian and Jewish leaders alike.
Bowser was just one of numerous leaders who attended the grand opening.
“Standing here in this beautiful new facility, on this day of dedication, standing here as a representative of the people of the book, I cannot say enough thank you for this museum,” extolled Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federation of North America.
“Thank you for this wonderful gift — and how appropriate to you is that terminology, for we call the Bible a gift.”
Not to be outdone, Cardinal Donald Wuerl delivered a message from Pope Francis himself.
“It is 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 this message. To inspire, to shape the live of individuals and peoples of every time and place,” relayed Wuerl, the sixth archbishop of Washington.
Steve Green was also present for the museum’s big day. He addressed the crowd as he admired the creation he helped build.
“I hope that, as people leave here, they will get inspired to get to know the Bible’s story for themselves,” Green stated.
Located near Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, the Museum of the Bible is free for any person hoping to visit.
Jason Hopkins is The Western Journal’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.