WASHINGTON - Welcome to Washington's newest attraction -- and it's like nothing you've ever seen. the Museum Of The Bible is D.C.'s latest museum and it uses cutting edge technology to bring the bible to life.
"Children's museums, dinosaur museums, science museums, art museums. There wasn't a museum for the Bible and that's the reason we built it," said the museum's President, Cary Summers. He says the museum is inspiring, informative, and entertaining. "It's where we are as a world right now. If it's not engaging, interesting, interactive, then many people just walk right by it, no matter how good it is!"
There are 3100 items on display from fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the handwritten poem Julia Ward Howe wrote in 1861 that became the words to "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic."
There's also a recreation of the roads Jesus walked in Nazareth. "They have a perspective they've never had before until they see! Wow, now I see why he talked the way he talked about olives, about the synagogue, about ritual baths. And it takes on a whole new meaning for them," Summers said.
There's even a ride that's called a FlyBoard. The ride lets you soar over Washington, D.C. looking for biblical inscriptions.
But what may be even more surprising is the attitude of the museum. "We're nonsectarian, which means we don't try to promote any faith or denomination," Summers said. "Our goal is to get people engaged in the Bible, to get them to at least open it up and take a look at it."
Still, there's some controversy about the museum. the Green family that owns Hobby Lobby, and the National Christian Foundation, are the two of the biggest donors.
"They are what that says, they are donors. They have not tried to direct the project and they've not tried to interject their personal points of view at all," Summers said.
Some critics say the new museum is really an Evangelical outpost to Congress. Summers disagrees. "Yeah, that's a fun one because all you have to do is come in and if you're here an hour, you realize it's not."
It is a sight to behold, from the huge bronze doors that recreate the printing plate of the first page of Genesis from the Gutenberg bible, to the soaring entry hall with its religious images, to unique artifacts-and immersive technology.
One quarter of American families identify as evangelical. "There's going to be a big draw, we know that, it's going to be very large," Summers said. "The Bible is, love it or hate it, it's just one of the great reads of all time. Our goal is when you walk in the front door is that your jaw hits the ground and you say 'Wow!' And when you leave, you say 'This may be the greatest museum or certainly one of them that I've ever been in.' That's what we're after."