I love bringing my kids here, I heard from my Eritrean Uber
driver, the first person Ive met who admits to going. The
lavishly funded museum is indeed a world unto
itself. Here is what struck me on a recent visit:
1. The interior and the staff feel like nowhere else in D.C.,
like a cross between the Midwest and a Mormon temple perhaps.
There is much more wood paneling than one sees around town.
2. It is unabashedly the most universalistic and cosmopolitan
interior in the area. There is a large room with circular
shelves, containing all the Bibles in different languages they
could find. Long columns list the languages of those Bibles,
and a flashing sign indicates that 977,977 different Bible chapters
would need to be translated before every chapter of the Bible is
available in all of the worlds languages.
3. You can see plenty of old Bibles from the centuries, and
while they are attractive, none are quite good enough for an art
museum like say The Walters in Baltimore.
4. There is a station playing references to the Bible from
popular music. As I stopped by it was serving up Four
Horsemen by The Clash, and then it segued into Hard Headed Woman by
5. Entrance costs $25.99, plus premia for special exhibits.
6. The museum bends over backwards to be non-denominational,
that said the intended neutrality imposes biases of its own.
The big losers are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, because this
is indeed a museum about a book, not about a church community. The connection between
this book, and the communities it has spawned, is precisely the
murky angle here and it seems almost deliberately obscured.
The Amish also are not promi...