Where is The Museum of the Bible?
The museum is located in Washington DC within easy walking distance of the Smithsonian Museums. It’s a beautiful building. There are metal detectors at the door and they will check your bags.
The lobby has a stunning ceiling with several beautiful designs that switch back and forth. The high ceilings are amazing. I was also very happy to see they have a coat check. I checked my backpack, umbrella and coat so I felt very unencumbered walking the building.
If you are heading to DC consider the Mount Vernon Tours– we LOVED them!
When we went to the museum it was FREE. After the first year it was open they began charging admission.
What Do I Need To Believe About The Bible To Enjoy?
That it exists. That’s it. The museum is NOT about believing anything in the Bible.
The First Floor
Once you get your ticket and check your coat there are a few things to look at on the first floor. There are some beautiful pieces of artwork on loan from the Vatican Museums and an experience just for kids that looks really cool (but since I didn’t have a kid I thought it would be creepy to go in.)
The Second Floor- The Impact of the Bible
The second floor basically studies the impact that the Bible has had all over the world. From early translations to key phrases we use without even realizing they are Biblical it covers it all. It took us probably an hour to go through the exhibit- there was so much to look at!
One of the coolest things is a full working replica of the Gutenberg Press. They go into great detail on how the press worked and the changes it made in the world of printing- which helped the spread of the Bible. And if you are there at the right time you can see a live demonstration.
The Third Floor- The Stories of the Bible
This was my favorite floor. It’s divided into three sections- The New Testament, The Hebrew Bible and Galilee during the life of Jesus.
There is a section you can walk through that shows what life would have been like when Jesus was growing up. You can touch, smell and hear everything. It’s immersive!
When you go into the New Testament Section there is a 12 minute video that covers the major plot points of the New Testament- from John the Baptist to John at Patmos. It’s actually REALLY well done and my friend kept commenting on how incredible all the auto-visual stuff was through the entire museum. I was so scared the museum would feel cheesy as so many do. At no point did I feel that way.
My favorite part of the entire museum was The Tanakh/Old Testament and I am SO mad we couldn’t take pictures inside.
It, quite literally, walks you through the stories in the Old Testament. You sit in the first room and watch a well done video up to the time of the flood. Then the door to your right opens and you begin to walk through the rest of the story. The effects are INCREDIBLE. You get to walk through the Red Sea, see the Burning Bush. meet Ruth and King David and so many other great stories.
This floor is extremely kid friendly.
The Fourth Floor- The History of the Bible
This is the floor with all the artifacts you expect to see in a museum. There are very old significant copies of the Bible, some pieces of scrolls and the histories and documents of people who did translations and people who made changes to the original manuscripts.
Possibly the cheesiest part of the museum is the Drive Thru History of the Bible. It’s sort of an Indiana Jones reality show type thing that takes you through Jerusalem and Rome.
The Fifth Floor- Exhibits
The things we saw on the 5th floor may not be the same you see. Currently it houses “The People of the Land: History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel” which is the class museum feel- clay pot, manuscripts, tools and other items.
The other exhibits were “The Art of the Gospels” and “The Living Dead: Ecclesiastes Through Art.” Two galleries with artwork demonstrating Biblical stories and themes.
In the basement there are two exhibits that I loved.
If you want to eat inside the museum you have two options. The nicer restaurant is called Manna. Along with flat breads and the random chicken fingers and french fry basket most of the food is Mediterranean. We both decided to try some foods we had never had. Our plates were empty when we went back to learn more! You are looking at about $20 for food and drink.
They also have a coffee shop called Milk and Honey. They have wraps, sandwiches, salads and items like that to go. So if you want a simpler meal that is your place to go!
A Chick’s Opinion
We spent seven hours in the museum. We loved it. There are some kid friendly sections and some parts kids would be incredibly bored in. If I had taken some older kids it would have taken maybe two hours.
Also the gift shop prices are ABSURD. I know that you think gift shop prices are high but this was INSANE. Also, I collect shot glasses of places I have been as mementos. They didn’t have them. NONE. Not a single shot glass. I had to get a coaster because it was closest to being the size I wanted.