For years Hobby Lobby has been known as the arts and craft chain that closes it’s stores on Sundays and donates millions of dollars to religious groups. Since the years Steven Green, president of the chain store, has made the chain a huge success, he has had his eye on another project. For nearly a decade, he had been collecting biblical artifacts in hopes of one day opening a museum about the Bible.
Now Green’s hope has come to life, with the opening of a 430,000 square foot museum in Washington D.C.–a massive building with stunning architecture. Some say that visitors could take days walk through and see everything.
The $500 million Museum of the Bible, says Steve Green, is meant to be aimed more at education than evangelizing. “There’s just a basic need for people to read the book. This book has had an impact on our world and we just think people ought to know it and hopefully they’ll be inspired to engage with it after they come here.”
During the years before the final museum location was chosen, Green suggested the museum be closer to the National Mall. The business man said, “One thing I learned in our real estate office is, sometimes being a block down the street can mean a lot in terms of sales. It’s not as visible to the Mall as we’d like, but it’s close.” The museum is, however, only 3 blocks from the U.S. Capitol. From the museum’s glass atrium, visitors can actually see the Capitol.
The museum also addresses religion in politics and American history. “We want people to see how it was used for the good, the bad, and the ugly,” says Norm Conrad, the museum’s curator for Americana and Biblical Imprints.
The founding of the museum has come with some hiccups as well. Hobby Lobby was fined $3 million and forced to return artifacts the federal government found they had acquired through an antiquities smuggling scheme. Steve Green said that the company had mistakenly dealt with smugglers, and would do a better job provenancing the artifacts they acquired.
But Steve Green is dedicated to bringing love for the Bible to everyone. For those who know little to nothing about the Bible, there is a floor dedicated to making the stories and history of the Bible come alive, with paintings, food displays and videos.
The museum opened November 17, hosting many festivities, including a gala fundraiser for the museum at Trump International Hotel and dedication ceremonies.