By Julianna Guthrie
40-ton bronze doors are open for the next generation of believers to study the manuscript that has survived the ages. Just under two years old, it is located minutes from the U.S. Capitol the Museum of the Bible is a new innovative way for masses to experience the story that has shaped and continues to shape world politics and culture.
Visitors are first faced with the iconic Gutenberg Gates that contain the original lines from the Latin Gutenberg Bible. Inside you can find a glass window that displays Psalm 19 translated into 19 different languages.
Visitors begin their visit with the impact of the Bible. Here they can see how the Bible has influenced culture through the ages. The exhibit features a small theater to see clips of movies with biblical themes, a small listening chamber to hear its word in music and mannequins dressed in fashion inspired by the famous book. Toward the back, you can find how the bible is received by inmates or sit at an interactive table that displays meals families have taken from all different religions from all around the world.
The crowd-drawing exhibit is the Hebrew Bible experience. The walkthrough 30-minute exhibit is as impressive as it is large. This live experience transports you back in time to live with the originating tales of the bible. Visitors begin in the story of Genesis and are taken through key bible narratives all the way to the book of Deuteronomy. The walls fade into images of the bloody scars of Cain after he is slain by his brother, you walk through the ark, your eyes glow from the bright flames of the bush on Mount Sinai, you see the slaves suffering in Egypt, you watch the temple be destroyed and hear the hopeful words of the scribe Ezra of the kingdom that will rise again.
Next to the Hebrew Bible experience, you can find two testaments dedicated to the New Testament and the life of Jesus. The first is a reimagined Nazareth. Visitors can walk through and meet with actors that reflect what people of the time would have been like. You can see where the Nazarenes ate, went to the synagogue and worked. Before you go into the town you can stop by for a film focused on the life of John the Baptist. When you exit you can find the New Testament Theater that shows an animated film. Narrated from the perspective of John the Apostle it follows him recalling the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, the aftermath, Saul who later becomes St. Paul and the spread of Christianity.
The museum of the Bible offers visitors the opportunity to reflect on scripture. Through these unique exhibits, the museum serves a new generation of believers. With the help of interactive screens and real world connections, the Bible has become more accessible and relatable than ever.
Catholic University students are in a unique position to experience the museum of the Bible due to their daily exposure on campus.
“The Bible is such a unique piece of literature to study. I feel privileged to not only have the opportunity to take classes on scripture but now be able to go to this museum and learn even more about something that is so close to my heart.” Says Roman Conti, Junior.
The Museum of the Bible is more than just a museum. It is a celebration of all the people. It is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. And admission is $20. Visitors should plan to spend three to four hours here.