October 12, 2017

Press Release

Museum of the Bible Overview

Museum of the Bible invites all people to engage with the Bible through museum exhibits and scholarly pursuits. Dedicated to the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible, the museum, located at 400 4th St. SW, opened November 17, 2017, three blocks from the US Capitol in Washington.  

By the Numbers

  • Total square footage: 430,000 
  • Floors: 8 (including two basement levels and two new floors constructed on the existing rooftop) 
  • The museum is approximately 170 feet in height from the lowest level to the rooftop
  • Permanent exhibit floors: 3 (The History, Stories, and Impact of the Bible)
  • Construction and property costs: More than $500 million 
  • Workers on-site daily at construction’s peak: 500–600 
  • Time it takes to read every placard, see every artifact, and experience every activity in the museum: 9 days at 8 hours per day 
  • Floor height (in feet) needed to accommodate exhibits: 20 (approximately)
  • Length (in feet) of giant LED ceiling screen running the expanse of the museum’s 

    Grand Hobby: 140 
  • Biblical Garden on rooftop 
  • Ballroom: Dinner seating for 420, lecture-style seating for 630
  • Performing arts hall: 472 seats
  • Number of biblical texts and artifacts on display on the History Floor alone: More than 500 
  • Number of blocks from the National Mall: 2 (approximately three minutes walking) 

Museum Timeline

  • 2010: Museum of the Bible established as 501(c)(3) nonprofit 
  • March 2011: Museum of the Bible makes public debut to gathering of business, government, academic, and religious leaders at the Vatican Embassy in Washington 
  • July 2012: Washington Design Center purchased for $50 million as site for forthcoming Bible museum 
  • Summer 2014: Museum architectural concept submission approved by the US Commission on Fine Arts, the local DC Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and the DC Historic Preservation Review Board; The Terminal Refrigerating and Warehousing Co. building also designated as a historical landmark by DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board
  • December 2014: Crews begin interior demolition process, creating a blank slate for new exhibit build-out and working to lower the ground floor to accommodate basement levels and elevator shafts 
  • February 2015: Major construction begins with the start of demolition on 1980s-era addition to the historical former refrigeration warehouse that became the museum 
  • August 2015: Museum of the Bible announces long-term alliance with Israel Antiquities Authority to fill gallery space in museum
  • November 17, 2017: Opening date for Museum of the Bible


Lead Building Consultants


SmithGroupJJR, Washington, DC
One of the world’s largest architectural firms with a portfolio that includes the International Spy Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture 

General Contractor 

Clark Construction, Bethesda, Maryland 
Award-winning contractor whose projects include National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of the American Indian, and renovation of the White House Visitor Center 


Technomedia, Orlando, Florida 
Premier provider of advanced audio-visual and interactive media development and integration services, whose past work includes attractions, museum exhibits, and corporate venues like Universal Studios Florida, Cirque de Soleil, Hard Rock Hotels and Cafes, Atlantis Resort, Time Warner Center, and the Kodak (now Dolby) Theatre 

Exhibit Designers 

  • History Floor Designer: The PRD Group, Chantilly, Virginia 

    • Portfolio includes Smithsonian National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, and United States Botanic Garden 

  • Narrative Floor Designers: 

    • Hebrew Bible and New Testament: BRC Imagination Arts, Burbank, California 

      • Oscar-nominated firm whose portfolio includes the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The Magic of Disney Animation, Disney’s Hollywood Studio Orlando and Steven Spielberg’s Motion Picture Magic, and Universal Studios Japan 

    • The World of Jesus of Nazareth: Jonathan Martin Creative, Nashville, Tennessee

      • Past projects include The Holy Land Experience, American Bible Society, and Trinity Broadcasting Network 

  • Impact Floor Designer: C&G Partners, New York, New York

    • Award-winning firm whose projects include the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and logo design for NBC Television Network 

Lead Content Consultants and Scholars

Robert Cooley, PhD, is president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Cooley is recognized widely for his research and writing in the fields of biblical scholarship and archaeology. He has overseen a number of excavation projects in the US, Israel, and Egypt. Cooley has served as president of The Association of Theological Schools and served as vice chair of the board of directors for Museum of the Bible. 

Gordon Campbell, PhD, serves as fellow in Renaissance studies and as university public orator at University of Leicester. He is a specialist in the Renaissance, the 17th century, John Milton, biblical studies, historical theology, the King James Bible, classical antiquity, architecture, and the Islamic world. Campbell served as a senior scholar for the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative, the research arm of Museum of the Bible. 

Byron Johnson, PhD, earned his doctorate at Florida State University in criminology, and he is currently the distinguished professor of the social sciences at Baylor University. His publications often discuss religion’s connection to the social sciences.

Floor-by-Floor Overview

  • Basement Level 2: Storage, administrative, research labs 

  • Basement Level 1: Short-term exhibit space, mechanical/electrical 

  • Floor 1: Lobby, atrium, orientation area, children’s gallery, VR experience, Treasures of the Vatican Musuems and the Vatican Library long-term exhibit, mezzanine with coffee shop 

  • Floor 2: The Impact of the Bible permanent exhibit

  • Floor 3: The Stories of the Bible permanent exhibit

  • Floor 4: The History of the Bible permanent exhibit

  • Floor 5: Long-term exhibit space for international museum galleries, performing arts hall, Museum of the Bible offices, Scholars Initiative offices, conference hall

  • Floor 6: Biblical Garden, viewing gallery, gathering room, restaurant