The Impact of the Bible: The Bible in America


Located on
Floor 2

w/ Admission

Bible in America

Introduced to the Americas by generations of immigrants, the Bible has had a profound impact on American history, culture and politics. Over time, the Bible helped inspire the country’s ideas about democracy and the belief that religious liberty was essential for its success. It influenced many national debates, including the abolition of slavery and campaigns for civil rights. Frequently, people on opposing sides of an issue appealed to the Bible to support their cause. Today, the impact of the Bible still resonates throughout American culture. Its influence is deeply rooted in our society as well as in the quiet habits of everyday life for many Americans.

Themes within the Exhibition

Bible In America

Coming to America

Learn how colonists brought differing ideas about religion and the Bible to America, creating an environment of religious diversity.
Bible In America

Tyranny and Tolerance

Artifacts in this gallery highlight the ways colonists pursued different views on religious ideals and their own interpretation of the Bible.
Bible In America

The Great Awakening

Hear different perspectives from the 1740s, when a wave of religious fervor gripped the American colonies and changed the way many read the Bible.
Bible In America

Equality before God

Explore how the Bible impacted the beliefs and actions of the Founders, and contributed to the debates on revolution and religious freedom.
Bible In America

Religious Freedom

Learn how the pervasive influence of the Bible in the early years of the American republic resulted in many social reform movements like anti-slavery.
Bible In America

Biblical Authority

As war tore a nation apart, both sides called upon the Bible to justify their beliefs and actions. As the United States recovered from the Civil War, new interpretations and thoughts on the Bible opened expanding controversies.
Bible In America

Civil Rights and Beyond

Explore how the Bible was found at the center of many public debates in 20th-century America.
Bible In America

Bible in America Now

Take an interactive survey to share how you think the Bible has impacted the past, present and future of American society and culture.

"It gives a straightforward account of American history, from the first colonists to the civil rights era and beyond, through the prism of the Bible, but in a way that many visitors will probably find … compelling and accessible."

Philip Kennicott, Art and Architecture Critic, November 15, 2017, The Washington Post

Images from the Exhibit