WASHINGTON — Construction has officially begun on the Museum of the Bible, a longtime project spearheaded by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, which is scheduled to open in Washington, D.C. in 2017.
"In many respects this is the kickoff of a three year project. We've been working on it for two years, this is the first time that anything major will be exposed to the public," Cary Summers, president of the Museum of the Bible, said Thursday flanked by artistic renderings of the 430,000-square-foot-building.
"Hopefully, it will be a great addition to this city. As you know, Washington, D.C. is the capital of museums in the world."
Creating a Museum
For years, Hobby Lobby President Green has been looking to create a museum focused on the history, stories, and narrative of the Bible.
A collector of numerous valued biblical artifacts, Green eventually purchased a facility in the nation's capital back in 2012.
According to the museum's fact sheet, once completed the Museum of the Bible will include eight floors and a basement that will house more than 500 biblical texts and artifacts; one rooftop biblical garden; permanent exhibits on the history, impact and narrative of the Bible; libraries and museum galleries; and will be open to 60 seminaries and universities worldwide whose students will be conducting research on the Green family's collection.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Summers explained that the local response to the work at the site has intentionally been "low key."
"It's been very low-key only because we have not really exposed much. Inside the building there is a tremendous amount of construction going on," said Summers.
"Floors are being removed. So what you see and hear inside is multi times this. So it's been rather quiet and that is exactly what we would hope at this stage."
Summers also explained that once completed, they expct to see tour groups from public, private and homeschool groups, based off of their experiences with the traveling exhibition of biblical artifacts destined for the museum.
"Primarily private school groups and homeschoolers, but also we've entertained numerous universities throughout the world as we've traveled," said Summers. "Some, especially overseas, public and private, have come."
Creating a Bible Education
The Museum of the Bible isn't the only endeavor the Green family has undertaken to advance people's knowledge about the Bible.
Via the Green Scholars Initiative, the owners of Hobby Lobby have also developed an elective curriculum for public schools about the history and themes of the Good Book.
Initially the course in question was going to be introduced in Mustang Public School District in the Greens' home state of Oklahoma.
However, concern from groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State prompted the school district to backtrack on the implementation of the elective course.
Steve Green, who was present for the press conference, told CP that the elective course developed for schools and the museum overlapped in their information.
"It just seems to make sense because of the scholarship that we have, the artifacts that we have, the museum that we have, that we develop that into a curriculum that basically teaches what the museum displays," said Green. "That is a venture that we're working on as well."
Located within a block of Federal Center Metro Station and two blocks from the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of the Bible is slated to open in November 2017.