It’s finally here. Washington, D.C.’s Museum of the Bible has opened its doors to the public, and there is so much to look forward to (and maybe be cautious about). The museum, headed by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, has gained much notice from the public as well as many criticisms and questions.
For an in-depth look at what critics are saying about the museum, check out the following five reviews:
- “When the NewsHour toured the museum earlier this week, it found a state-of-the-art museum that stays away from hot topics like abortion or birth control, favors experiential and immersive exhibits, and does not evangelize but will likely ruffle the feathers of some from excluded religious traditions,” writes Elizabeth Flock of PBS NewsHour.
- “After touring the site of the museum, visiting its traveling exhibit, and interviewing [Museum of the Bible Founder and Hobby Lobby CEO Steve] Green and others involved in the project, we have found that despite genuine efforts at nonsectarianism, the museum’s version of the Bible’s history remains beholden to the worldview of the Green family. The broader story it tells about the Bible, and especially the Bible’s place in American culture, is essentially a Protestant one, and it excludes other traditions when they might come into conflict with that basic story,” writes Candida Moss and Joel S. Baden of POLITICO.
- “Some moments border on cheesy; others are strikingly sober. An immersive section devoted to the Nazareth of Jesus’ day feels Disney- or Vegas-like (although it was also among the most crowded), while a floor devoted to the history of the Bible recalls a monastic library,” writes Menachem Wecker of Artnet.
- “When it comes to the literal truth of the Bible, things can get slippery. Although there is little to no material evidence to support the narrative of the Jewish exile and escape from Egypt recounted in Exodus, the museum jumbles together biblical texts about Egypt with the uncontested fact that there was significant cultural exchange between Egypt and the various peoples who lived in the lands now associated with the Jewish people,” writes Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post.
- “... the way in which the museum’s founders have routinely disregarded basic principles of academic inquiry should make would-be visitors very, very cautious,” writes Tara Isabella Burton of Curbed sister site Vox.
For more reviews, there are some now available on the museum’s Yelp page.
The eight-floor, 430,000-square-foot building offers a biblical garden, grand ballroom, and a restaurant by Chef Todd Gray, called Manna. For a sneak peek inside the new museum, check out this Curbed DC photo tour.