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The loud noise that you can hear from the National Mall in Washington is the sound of brickbats pelting the glass roof of the city’s new Museum of the Bible (MOTB). The museum houses an enormous display of the history and archaeology of the Bible. Its collections are spectacular. Entrance is free. Christian philanthropists paid for it. Evidently, it is for some or all of these reasons that so many of the nation’s critics are outraged.
The Museum of the Bible is indeed massive, even if you exclude its two large restaurants, a rooftop Biblical Garden, a ballroom that seats hundreds, and a theater now hosting a musical about William Wilberforce, the English politician and deeply religious father of the anti-slavery movement. The exhibition space includes two narrative floors where artifacts and technology work together to present, respectively, the History of the Bible and the Impact of the Bible; major galleries devoted to special exhibits; special-effects galleries where the story of the Bible is told through immersive experiences; and a charming first-floor children’s museum where kids can face off against Goliath or sort loaves and fishes into baskets. Not to mention the Washington Revelations Flyboard Ride that takes you on a virtual tour of America’s capital—a city where biblical references turn out to be embedded in unexpected places.
Calm - Candid - Review - Museum - Washington
In a calm, candid, and accurate review of the museum in the Washington Post, Philip Kennicott wrote:
The new attraction is an up-to-date version of an old-fashioned museum, telling linear stories in a complex and detailed way. It doesn’t foreground trendy ideas about multiculturalism, and it isn’t “thematic,” or focused on broad ideas at the expense of chronological clarity. [In its gallery Impact of the Bible,] it gives a straightforward account of American history, from the first colonists to the civil-rights era and beyond, through...
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