Construction will begin for Washington, D.C.'s Museum of the Bible today with an expected opening date in 2017. The project has picked up a lot of steam due to its president being the infamous Hobby Lobby President Steve Green. (Green is more commonly known for his Supreme Court battle on providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to employees). Now onto his newest project, Green plans on moving to bigger and more biblical things by placing his approximately 44,000 biblical artifacts in the museum.
The museum will be located only three blocks away from the U.S. Capitol and only two blocks from the National Mall. The 430,000-square-foot building will total eight floors with two underground. Only 300,000-square-feet of space will be open to the public. The architect hired for the project is SmithGroupJJR, the same architects currently working on the African American museum.
The original brick facade of the building will remain untouched, but three additional levels will be constructed to include a 500-seat performance hall, ballroom, restaurant, and function spaces. The ballroom will be modeled after the Versailles, and the restaurant will serve biblically-themed meals. According to the Clark Construction website, the rooftop will be constructed with "a curving aluminum framed glazed curtain wall assembly with channel glass infill, skylights, zinc batten panel roofing, and a green roof system." The building is designed to achieve LEED certification. A one-story addition will also be constructed on the Washington Office Center to include residences, offices, and classrooms for the Museum of the Bible.
Some of the artifacts in Green's collection include cuneiform tablets dating from the time of Abraham, Dead Sea Scroll fragments, and Torah scrolls. The Washington Post described his collection as one of the world's largest private collections of rare biblical texts, objects, and artifacts.
· A Most Holy Project: Bible Museum Coming to the Mall in 2017 [Curbed DC]
· Hobby Lobby's Steve Green has big plans for his Bible museum in Washington [The Washington Post]
· Clark to build Washington, D.C.'s Museum of the Bible [Clark Construction]
· Museum of the Bible [Official Website]