Museum of the Bible’s Summers Tells NRB: ‘The World is Coming In’

MOTBNASHVILLE (NRB) – The Museum of the Bible invites all people of all faiths to engage with the Bible, not just Christians, president Cary Summers told participants of Proclaim 18, the National Religious Broadcasters’ (NRB) International Christian Media Convention, at the February 27 Opening Session.

And, the people are coming. 

“Who’s coming to the museum? The world is coming in. It’s not all evangelical Christians, but people from all over the world,” Summers said.

Since its opening in November, the museum has welcomed more than 340,000 visitors ­from a diverse set of religious, geographical, and cultural backgrounds, proving the museum’s appeal to a wide audience.

Summers, Steve Green, chairman of the board for Museum of the Bible, and his wife, Jackie, were interviewed by NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson during the opening session of the 75th annual NRB Convention held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. 

For each of the past three years, MOTB has been a platinum sponsor of the Convention.

The museum includes 430,000 square feet of historical artifacts, interactive displays, and intellectually stimulating information about the Bible. The museum is located only blocks from the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and does not operate with any government funding, Summers said, yet opens its doors to the public for free, like the Smithsonian museums nearby.

The museum’s displays are so extensive, Summers said, that it would require 72 hours to view everything. Exhibits include a replica of Nazareth Village in Israel; the Bible in American history; how the Bible influenced art, music, language, culture, and fashion; and several interactive exhibits that guide visitors through the story of the Bible. 

Summers shared that one of the most surprising aspects of operating the museum is the response after people visit. Surveys find the museum gives visitors hope. 

“To have this as the number one response shows us that people are looking for something today, and they are finding it in the Bible,” he said.

As visitors enter the 40-foot tall, two-and-a-half-ton bronze doors engraved with the words of Genesis 1 from the Gutenberg Bible, Summers said it is like walking through the Bible into the Bible, which may be the beginning of the journey for some visitors that may continue long after they depart.

Not only is the museum providing hope for many of its visitors, it also provides cultural engagement with people from many different religious backgrounds, Summers said. From Orthodox Jews to agnostics to Muslims to Christians, the museum is attracting engagement with people from different beliefs.

“The Bible will tear down walls for us,” Summers said, after sharing a story about a local imam who was so moved exploring the exhibits with his family that he urged his Muslim friends to visit the museum.

In addition to its historical and informational exhibits, the museum includes several technologically advanced features, providing visitors a unique experience through the Bible.

Steve Green highlighted the Bible Now portion of the museum, which offers visitors the opportunity to record a clip about how the Bible worked in their own hearts and lives. Visitors can “leave it for posterity. It lets your kids or grandkids come in and hear what the Bible means to you,” he said. “It talks about how the Bible is impacting you now.”

Jackie Green shared that her favorite display is Elizabeth de Bohun’s book of psalter, published in the 14th century. After doing some research, Green discovered de Bohun is her 21st great-grandmother, which gave her even more of an appreciation for the collection. 

“God’s word will not return void,” said Johnson. “This is the way people come to faith — through encountering the Word of God.”

More information about the Museum of the Bible is available at museumofthebible.org.

By RuthAnne Irvin

 

Published: March 3, 2018

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