Set to open in November 2017, a compelling new presentation of the Bible and its history will delight tourists in the nation's capital. The Museum of the Bible will open to the public on November 17, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
LifeZette took a pre-opening hard-hat tour this week of the still-under-construction building.
"Certainly this is a pivotal time, I think, in humanity ... [The Bible] is one common denominator that we can share with all people," Tony Zeiss, executive director of the museum, told LifeZette.
Located three blocks from the United States Capitol, the 430,000-square-foot building will encourage all people to engage with the Bible.
"We are not a ministry," Zeiss said. "We won't push any one religion."
Museum visionaries hope to bring the Bible to life by engaging all of an individual's senses -- and running a technological display. The eight-floor museum will not disappoint -- those who visit will enter the comprehensive and compelling world of the Bible.
"We have one of the largest collections of Bible artifacts in the world," Zeiss said. "We'll have from 500 to 700 [of them] on display at all times." The museum will contain some 40,000 biblical artifacts (collected by the family of Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby).
"We've got a demonstration lab where scholars will be translating some of those artifacts, so it's a working museum," Zeiss said.
The building will also house a 500-seat performance theater as well as a restaurant that will serve first-century food from Israel. In a biblical garden, guests will be able to spend ample time soaking in the rich history of the Bible.
"Our purpose is just to present the Bible," Zeiss said. "We believe the Bible will speak for itself."
There's even a virtual reality component. Folks be able to "walk through the Red Sea," "look out across the Sea of Galilee," and much, much more, through historical and narrative story exhibits. In addition, the museum will feature a display about the impact the Bible has had on civilization.
"We want to get people engaged in the Bible and the best way to do that is to get them into some sort interactive [setting]," Zeiss said.
Major construction on the building began back in February 2015, but planning phases have gone back even further. In 2010, the Museum of the Bible was established as a nonprofit organization. Donors have funded the $500 million project.
Five hundred construction workers a day are laboring across three shifts to get the building ready for opening day.
"It's going to become the center of discussion as never before," Zeiss said of the museum, which will be the third largest in D.C. and the largest nonprofit museum.
Events for the grand opening include an eight-week performance of the Broadway production, "Amazing Grace: The Musical."