On November 17, 2017, the much-anticipated Museum of the Bible will be opening in Washington, D.C. with more than 40,000 objects on display in a 430,000-square-foot structure, three blocks from the Capitol Building. The collection includes artifacts from the time of Abraham, fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as biblical papyri and manuscripts, Torah scrolls, and rare printed Bibles.
Having seen some early glimpses of what this museum has to offer, I want to encourage you to make it a priority to visit Museum of the Bible this year with your family. Make a budget now and plan to save a little bit each week, if necessary, to enable your children to enjoy this amazing experience in the fall of this year.
Michael McAfee—director of Bible engagement at the museum—spoke with me recently and described what this museum will offer for families. His wife Lauren was one of my students this past semester at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. They are delightful people, deeply committed to making the history of the Bible accessible to everyone.
Interview about Museum of the Bible
Timothy Paul Jones: Michael, thank you for taking the time to talk to readers of my blog about what Museum of the Bible will offer for families! Describe for me what families will experience at Museum of the Bible.
Michael McAfee: Museum of the Bible will be an engaging experience for everyone in the family. From our interactive kid’s area to our personalized tablet tours, Museum of the Bible offers a one-of-a-kind experience. We will be the tallest building in the area and will have an unobstructed view of the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and the National Mall, so be sure to bring a camera! Also, you’ll want to spend a full day at Museum of the Bible, and we are putting in a “Foods of the Bible” restaurant on top of the Museum of the Bible so you can stay as long as you like.
TPJ: Tell me a little bit about the vision and purpose behind Museum of the Bible.
MM: As we look at our country and the world, we see a decline in Bible engagement and appreciation. Museum of the Bible exists to invite all people to engage with the Bible. Our hope is by offering a fun, engaging, and thought-provoking experience, people of all ages will reconsider the significance of the best-selling book of all time.
TPJ: Let’s ask the real-life questions that parents are asking themselves right now. Suppose one of my readers has an energetic five-year-old and a seven-year-old. Should they visit the museum now or wait a few years? This is a history museum, after all, which—for a five-year-old—usually spells boredom, doesn’t it?
MM: Museum of the Bible will be an engaging experience for everyone in the family. We will have the largest kid’s area of any museum in Washington, D.C. There will be games and interactive experiences for children of all ages to enjoy. We encourage the parents to jump in and have fun with them!
TPJ: How about families with children who would rather remain plugged in to their iPods or smartphones than to visit a museum?
MM: Museum of the Bible will feature a first-of-its-kind technological experience within the museum itself that has you engage with a tablet. By answering a few diagnostic questions, we will curate a tour for your teenager’s specific interests and share information at a level they are comfortable with. This is the best possible museum for a screen-addicted teen to experience.
TPJ: How can pastors make use of what the museum provides?
MM: We have incredible lectures available for viewing and a curriculum that is set to be released for churches in 2017. We have many resources in development currently, so be sure to sign up for more information at http://www.MuseumoftheBible.org/Church and we will alert you when these become available.
TPJ: How long should a family plan to spend in Museum of the Bible? I have a family of five. How long will it take us to see it all?
MM: The interactive tablet guides will make the Museum of the Bible manageable in a one-day trip. However, if you want to see, experience, and read everything it would take you nine eight-hour days! This is the largest museum currently under construction in the world, so plan to block out a full day to see everything. Trust me, you will wish you had more time!
TPJ: Two of my daughters are especially excited about the fact that this is a history museum with a ride in it–especially since I take them to so many historical museums that offer nothing at all in the way of an adrenaline rush! Tell us about the simulator ride.
MM: Many people do not realize just how much the Bible has impacted their daily life. At Museum of the Bible, we have dedicated an entire floor to highlighting the impact the Bible has made on our country, languages, government, business, the arts, and other areas of our daily life. The Impact Floor will include an unforgettable experience of a Fly Board Ride! This technology-advanced ride, which is not yet available anywhere in America, will give you the sensation you are flying through Washington, D.C. over all of the founding documents and national monuments that quote the Bible. Our hope is you will leave the Museum of the Bible and go discover them in Washington for yourself.
TPJ: As a parent who home-schools, I’ve been very interested in the educational curriculum. Can you tell me about the educational curriculum that Museum of the Bible has sponsored and coordinated with its collection?
MM: Museum of the Bible has set out to combine students’ love for technology with a curriculum on the greatest book ever written. Our exclusive Interactive Textbook combines digital media elements with engaging technology to create a homeschool curriculum on the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible for the smartphone generation. The result is a robust learning environment where students are more engaged in the history, narrative and impact of the Bible than ever before.
TPJ: Thank you, Michael! I look forward to seeing you at the museum with my family this fall.
Discuss in the Comments:
Watch this overview of what the Museum of the Bible will look like. What do you hope that your children will receive through their experience at this museum?