Museum of the Bible

Museum of the Bible Inviting all people to engage with the Bible.
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Operating as usual

Today is the Feast of Holy Innocents. This day commemorates the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod th...
12/28/2020

Today is the Feast of Holy Innocents. This day commemorates the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. The events are described in Matthew 2:16–18.

Now is the perfect time to begin preparing next year’s Christmas décor! Head to our online museum store to find great de...
12/27/2020

Now is the perfect time to begin preparing next year’s Christmas décor! Head to our online museum store to find great deals on biblically related items.

Shop now at https://fal.cn/3crVr.

#OnThisDay in 1932, the Art Deco masterpiece Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.The annual Christmas Spectacu...
12/27/2020

#OnThisDay in 1932, the Art Deco masterpiece Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

The annual Christmas Spectacular debuted in 1933. Beyond the precision dancing and leg kicks of the Rockettes, the event has featured a flying Santa sleigh, plenty of fake snow, and a finale that includes a living Nativity scene as imagined from the story recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, complete with camels, sheep, and donkeys.

12/26/2020

In the mid-1800s, Julia E. Smith was the first woman to translate the full Bible.

She spent seven years translating the entire Bible, not once, but five times. Although she was confident about the quality of her work, her translations are now considered lacking. One problem was she was unaware of a special grammatical rule in Hebrew. A word that looks like it is in the future tense in certain cases is actually past tense.

Despite the translation’s shortcomings, it can’t be denied that Smith demonstrated remarkable persistence and dedication in translating the Bible on her own.

New Install 🚨 In 1999, the Benedictines who run Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, announced a project ...
12/26/2020

New Install 🚨 In 1999, the Benedictines who run Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, announced a project to produce an illuminated manuscript of the Bible.

Over the next 12 years, master calligrapher Donald Jackson, with a team of scribes and artists, produced a manuscript Bible in seven volumes. This is the first manuscript Bible produced anywhere in the world in over 500 years. The Heritage Edition is a full-size, limited, signed, and numbered fine art reproduction of the original. Many of the illuminations have been enhanced by hand, making each set unique.

Birth of Christ, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The New Testament’s story of Jesus’s birth is, by any measure, among the most famous stories ever told. There are the an...
12/25/2020

The New Testament’s story of Jesus’s birth is, by any measure, among the most famous stories ever told. There are the angels and the shepherds, the poor couple who find “no room in the inn,” the baby in a manger, the “wise men” of the east, and a young mother pondering all these things in her heart. The child is hailed as the long-awaited Messiah, the savior, the Son of God.

Today, there are a variety of popular Christmas traditions inspired by the biblical story. When people give Christmas gifts, some are practicing a tradition reflecting the gift-giving of the wise men. And when others set a star atop their Christmas tree, they are recalling the star in the Gospel of Matthew that guides the wise men to Jesus.

The Bible pictured here is from 1860 and was signed by Clement C. Moore, the accredited author of the popular poem, “A V...
12/25/2020

The Bible pictured here is from 1860 and was signed by Clement C. Moore, the accredited author of the popular poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

In 1823, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously, but in 1837 Clement Clarke Moore claimed authorship. More commonly called “The Night before Christmas,” it was known throughout the country within a decade of its first appearance and is one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time. Moore was a professor of Oriental and Greek literature, and divinity and biblical learning at the General Theological Seminary in New York City until 1850. #ArtifactoftheDay

See more Christmas-related artifacts on our Collections page: https://fal.cn/3cqiD.

One of the greatest Christmas traditions that came out of the 19th century is Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." It ...
12/24/2020

One of the greatest Christmas traditions that came out of the 19th century is Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." It was an immediate best-seller in 1843, with his character Ebenezer Scrooge making a lasting statement on greed to Victorian England.

Perhaps lesser known is Dickens’s “The Life of Our Lord,” written for his children. As each left home, he gave them a copy of the New Testament. “Because,” he said, “it is the best book that ever was or will be known in the world.” #ChristmasEve

In 1891, artist Henry Ossawa Tanner moved to Paris, France, and began focusing on biblical themes. There, he was awarded...
12/23/2020

In 1891, artist Henry Ossawa Tanner moved to Paris, France, and began focusing on biblical themes. There, he was awarded a medal at the famed Paris Salon for his painting, "Resurrection of Lazarus." The French government bought it as a museum piece.

Later, after spending six months in Jerusalem, he painted "Nicodemus Visiting Jesus," which won the prestigious Lippincott prize. Ten years before his death, Tanner became the first African American to be a member of the National Academy of Design in New York.

12/23/2020
A Thrill of Hope - Joy to the World

Visiting the museum today? Don't miss "A Thrill of Hope" showing in the World Stage Theater at noon and 1:00 p.m. "Joy to the World" is one of the many Christmas carols you'll hear.

Learn more about these performances: https://fal.cn/3cp4e.

Jean-François Champollion, a well-known scholar, philologist, and Orientalist, was born #OnThisDay in Figeac, France. He...
12/23/2020

Jean-François Champollion, a well-known scholar, philologist, and Orientalist, was born #OnThisDay in Figeac, France. He worked on deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, and, in September 1822, recognized for the first time that the Egyptian hieroglyphic script was a combination of signs representing consonants and whole words, or indicating sounds and classes of words.

Once he understood this, he was able to decipher many hieroglyphic inscriptions. This opened the way to rediscovering much about ancient Egypt's civilization and history, which, in turn, provided scholars with much new knowledge and insight into the history of ancient Israel and many of the events and stories found in the Hebrew Bible.

12/23/2020

Have you heard the Huron Christmas Carol? 🎶

This 17th-century piece was originally composed in Wyandot, a language spoken by tribes in the Huron confederation in modern-day Canada. It was the first Canadian Christmas song.

When French Jesuit missionary Father Jean de Brébeuf wanted to tell the story of Jesus’s birth to the Huron, he composed a song in the Huron language that recast the humble beginnings of Jesus’s life in a way they could understand. The wise men who traveled to see Jesus are presented as visiting “chiefs.” Their gifts are not Near Eastern spices, which the people had never heard of, but fox and beaver pelts.

We will be closed to the public beginning Thursday, December 24 through Thursday, January 14. We plan to reopen on Janua...
12/22/2020

We will be closed to the public beginning Thursday, December 24 through Thursday, January 14. We plan to reopen on January 15.

For continual updates and information, please visit our website: https://fal.cn/3coct.

Not only did Charles Wesley help found the Methodist movement with his brother John Wesley, but he is also remembered as...
12/22/2020

Not only did Charles Wesley help found the Methodist movement with his brother John Wesley, but he is also remembered as one of the most prolific hymn writers in history. He composed more than 6,000 hymns over the course of 53 years, many inspired by the Bible.

His works include some of the most famous in the English hymnic tradition, such as “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and the Christmas favorite, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

Charles Wesley wrote this letter on September 13, 1783, to William Russel, a music master in Guildford, inquiring about renting a house. Another letter from Charles to Mr. Russel suggests they were friends and knew each other’s families. Learn more: https://fal.cn/3cnxK.

Charlemagne’s reign brought order to medieval Europe, and as scholarship flourished, so too did the production of Bibles...
12/21/2020

Charlemagne’s reign brought order to medieval Europe, and as scholarship flourished, so too did the production of Bibles. Charlemagne himself recognized the need for a standard edition of the Bible. Over time, things like punctuation and word order had sometimes been altered. So, Charlemagne asked the English scholar, Alcuin of York, to prepare a new Latin Bible. Charlemagne received the new Bible on Christmas Day.

This revision of the Vulgate Bible became a standard from which scribes produced new Bibles. Learn more about Bible translations on our History Floor.

12/21/2020
The Prayer Book for Charles V

If you were designing a prayer book for a teenage boy, what would you include?

The prayer book of Charles V was custom-made to prepare the young man to rule—and rule well. So what do we find in its pages? We find image after image of suffering and humility. Watch to learn more.

This #ArtifactoftheDay is The Psalms of David: Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.Isaac Watts was an English ...
12/21/2020

This #ArtifactoftheDay is The Psalms of David: Imitated in the Language of the New Testament.

Isaac Watts was an English nonconformist minister and author who is widely regarded today as the “father of English hymnody.” Over the course of his life, he authored approximately 750 hymns, including “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” Perhaps his most beloved hymn, however, is “Joy to the World,” which is based on Psalm 98.

Learn more at https://fal.cn/3cmcU.

Trivia time! Which Gospel does Sam Cooke reference in his song, "Touch the Hem of His Garment," with the lyrics:"Whoa, t...
12/20/2020

Trivia time! Which Gospel does Sam Cooke reference in his song, "Touch the Hem of His Garment," with the lyrics:

"Whoa, there was a woman in the Bible days
She had been sick,
Sick so very long
But she heard 'bout Jesus was passin' by
So, she joined the gathering throng
And while she was pushing her way through
Someone asked her, 'What are you trying to do?'
She said, 'If I could just touch the hem of his garment I know I'll be made whole'"?

A. Matthew
B. Mark
C. Luke
D. John

#DYK that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote one of his most famous poems as a reflection on the Bible? Longfellow's "Psal...
12/20/2020

#DYK that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote one of his most famous poems as a reflection on the Bible? Longfellow's "Psalm of Life," from Genesis 3:10, became what the Poetry Foundation calls a "mainstay of national culture." Another poem he wrote became the basis for the Christmas carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"—his words in its familiar last stanza are a reference to Luke 2:14: "With peace on earth, goodwill to men!"

Let’s debunk some Christmas “myths!”Did Mary ride a donkey to Bethlehem? The Bible says Mary was with Joseph but there’s...
12/20/2020

Let’s debunk some Christmas “myths!”

Did Mary ride a donkey to Bethlehem? The Bible says Mary was with Joseph but there’s no mention of a donkey. What about an “innkeeper” declaring there was no room in the inn? There is no mention in the Bible of an innkeeper. Were there three kings on camels at Jesus’s birth? Maybe! Maybe not—the Bible doesn’t say kings were at the manger.

Although there are many parts of the story not in the Bible, the fact is, there is much the Bible does say about the birth of Jesus in the Gospels! Take a look.

Our current Language-in-Focus is Tarahumara. This language is part of the Uto-Aztecan language family and is spoken by a...
12/19/2020

Our current Language-in-Focus is Tarahumara. This language is part of the Uto-Aztecan language family and is spoken by approximately 70,000 people in northern Mexico. Two main dialects are the focus of the translation efforts—Tarahumara Baja and Tarahumara Alta.

This particular New Testament is a printed version of the Tarahumara Baja Western dialect spoken in Chihuahua. The translation was completed in 2008. Learn more on our History Floor.

12/19/2020
Winning Crib from "Christmas in Malta" Exhibition

And the winner is... This Nativity by Adrian Gatt and Raymond Zammit, with figures by Jesmond Micallef! 👏👏

This Nativity crib is set in a Maltese house that was partly demolished during the Second World War. The crib will become part of our permanent collection. To learn more about this crib and the others on display in our exhibit, "Christmas in Malta," visit https://fal.cn/3ckAH. Thank you to all who voted!

12/18/2020

#DidYouKnow that the earliest known examples of Christian art portraying Bible figures and events are found in tombs?

If you visit Rome and descend into the underground catacombs, you can see paintings on the walls and ceilings of the tunnels where Christian burial niches were carved for the deceased. Images of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Jonah, and other biblical narratives are among them. #BibleHistory

Don't miss tonight's special event, "Night of the Nativity," on TBN! This Christmas special will be hosted by Max Lucado...
12/18/2020

Don't miss tonight's special event, "Night of the Nativity," on TBN! This Christmas special will be hosted by Max Lucado and include musical performances by John Rich Music and Koryn Hawthorne. Who's tuning in?

Max Lucado hosts Night of the Nativity from Museum of the Bible TONIGHT at 8, 9, 10, and 11PM ET! Our Christmas special features performances from Koryn Hawthorne and John Rich Music! Tune in!

It used to take more than three years to make a Gutenberg Bible! But what took so long?To make these copies, they had to...
12/18/2020

It used to take more than three years to make a Gutenberg Bible! But what took so long?

To make these copies, they had to take small pieces of metal in the shape of letters called print blocks and put them together to spell the words on the page. Then, they put ink on those letters and pressed them against paper. The ink would stick to the page to print the words. Setting up each page, however, was not quick work. Imagine a small child spelling out words with block letters. And Gutenberg Bibles have over 3 million letters!

Don’t miss our last two Family Nights! This Saturday, December 19, join us for live music by Kayla Waters, a spectacular...
12/18/2020

Don’t miss our last two Family Nights! This Saturday, December 19, join us for live music by Kayla Waters, a spectacular light display, live performances of Follow the Star—a one-of-a-kind retelling of the Christmas story— the Christmas in Malta exhibition, a Christmas Market featuring unique gifts from around the world, ornament and gingerbread decorating, and more!

Can’t join us on Saturday? Our last Family Night is on December 26. Purchase tickets for Family Nights today: https://fal.cn/3ciL3.

You've heard "Oh Holy Night," right? #ArtifactoftheDayThis document was written and signed by Adolphe Charles Adam (1803...
12/17/2020

You've heard "Oh Holy Night," right? #ArtifactoftheDay

This document was written and signed by Adolphe Charles Adam (1803–1856) as “Ad. Adam.” Adam was a French composer who, in 1844, wrote the music for a French poem called “Minuit, chrétiens” written by Placide Cappeau. This carol would be set to different English lyrics in 1847 and titled “O Holy Night.” The lyrics to this classic Christmas carol pull from the breadth of the Bible, drawing from the books of Luke, Matthew, Romans, and Genesis.

See more Christmas-related artifacts on our Collections page: https://fal.cn/3ci0o.

Due to inclement weather, we will be opening at 11am today, December 17. Stay safe!
12/17/2020

Due to inclement weather, we will be opening at 11am today, December 17. Stay safe!

Toni Morrison, an author and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize Winner, made a habit of using biblical names in her works.In her n...
12/16/2020

Toni Morrison, an author and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize Winner, made a habit of using biblical names in her works.

In her novels, characters are given subtle variations on biblical names such as Magdalene and First Corinthians. But the relationship of Morrison's work to the Bible is deeper than the way she names her characters. In discussing the importance of the Bible for her work, she once said, "The Bible wasn't part of my reading. It was part of my life."

This printed passional is considered the first printed book in Palencia, Spain, and is one of the few surviving copies i...
12/16/2020

This printed passional is considered the first printed book in Palencia, Spain, and is one of the few surviving copies in the world.

Printed in 1536 by Diego de Cordoba, this liturgical book was commissioned by Bishops Francisco de Mendoza and Luis Cabeza de Vaca, both bishops of Palencia. This passional includes a variety of chants for Holy Week, including the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the Passion, and the Gospel tones for Christmas and Epiphany.

Learn more: https://fal.cn/3cgft.

Due to inclement weather, Museum of the Bible will be closed today, December 16. Stay safe and warm!
12/16/2020

Due to inclement weather, Museum of the Bible will be closed today, December 16. Stay safe and warm!

This #ArtifactoftheDay is a two-volume edition of the Vulgate and contains over 200 illustrations by the renowned French...
12/16/2020

This #ArtifactoftheDay is a two-volume edition of the Vulgate and contains over 200 illustrations by the renowned French artist Gustave Doré.

Doré is perhaps best remembered for his Bible engravings. The Annunciation and the adoration by the shepherds after Jesus’s birth are among the many scenes depicted in this Bible, demonstrating Doré’s attention to detail and use of shading to convey emotion.

Learn more about this Bible on our Collections page: https://fal.cn/3cfrR.

#DidYouKnow Leon Bridges’s song “River” from his album “Coming Home” uses words similar to those found in Isaiah 6:5 and...
12/15/2020

#DidYouKnow Leon Bridges’s song “River” from his album “Coming Home” uses words similar to those found in Isaiah 6:5 and Isaiah 59:3? It's true!

Name another song with a biblical reference 👇

Address

400 4th St. SW
Washington D.C., DC
20024

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(866) 430-6682

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Our Mission

Museum of the Bible invites all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible.

Museum of the Bible, located in Washington, D.C., aims to be among the most technologically advanced and engaging museums in the world. Showcasing rare artifacts spanning 3,500 years of history, the museum offers visitors an immersive and personalized experience with the Bible, and its ongoing impact on the world around us.