Very grateful for getting to go to Museum of the Bible during its first week of opening with my family, and boy is it grand or what! It’s one of those epic experiences, punctuated with a spare-no-expense approach to build a world-class museum experience (perks of a privately-funded project). I know some people just want the bottom line, so here’s my best tips for having an even better time at Museum of the Bible, based on my first visit on Black Friday 2017.
Museum of the Bible—My Tips to Visitors
Best Parking is Closest
1. Getting there by Metro is the recommended way to go, very conveniently right there at the Federal Center station. But if you want to be frugal, i.e. you have more than 2 people going, driving can save some money. The closest parking is the garage that has a street address of 409 3rd St SW, Washington, DC, (with entrance at 319 Virginia Avenue SW, Washington , DC) & make your reservation online at parkme.com and print out your ticket to bring with you.
Going Early Means Less Waiting
2. Going early in the day was so worth it. We didn’t have to stand in line outside—which can be particularly uncomfortable in the winter and summer. We got timed-entry tickets with a family membership package. My guess is they’ll need to run timed-entry until the New Year, because the Bible is especially popular this time of year with Christmas and all. And, when we got to the coat check at 9:19am, it was already 2/3 full. Hint: if you don’t want to lug around your winter coat, get to Museum of the Bible early.
Bible Visualization and Storytelling
3. You must see the 3rd floor visual experiences. Simply amazing how they could tell the main story of the New Testament in 12 minutes and the Old Testament in 30 minutes. And, special creativity shined in the retelling of the Noah’s Ark, the rainbow of promise, the 10 plagues in Egypt, and the parted Red Sea. (No spoiler here,) These had timed-entry during our visit, not sure if that will continue even past the New Year; my hunch is that it will.
Virtual Reality Ride for some
4. Side note on that out-of-place thrill ride called Washington Revelations, with a panoramic virtual ride above Washington DC. $8 per person for something that obviously isn’t Bible-related. Okay, I concede there are some Bible verses embedded in some DC landmarks, but I still stand by my uninformed opinion. Save the money for lunch.
Places to Eats at the Musuem
5. Speaking of lunch, you have 2 choices: there’s Manna’s restaurant on 6th floor with a menu of Mediterranean foods; they serve kosher items there too. Then there’s a Café on the 1st floor with grab-and-go foods: sandwiches (they had tuna salad and chicken salad, during our visit) or a egg & veggie salad. If you can time your lunch time to be off hour (we couldn’t), you might get shorter lines. For the record, we ate in the Café.
3 Most Engaging Exhibits
6. I’ll mention 3 notable exhibits: On the 4th floor, there’s a huge history of the Bible exhibit, but I confess I didn’t go. Heard it was huge; after all, there’s over 4,000 years of history to curate from. 2ndly, very powerful to see the 2nd floor exhibit about the impact of the Bible on so many areas of life. One comment got mentioned several times in the Impact of the Bible on America portion: different people did different things based on their conviction and interpretation of the Bible; good discussion starter, but sometimes it can get into heated debates, or worse, even riots and other terrible things. One thing for sure: this Bible is a very provocative book. 3rdly, happy to see the exhibit on Bible translation into 1,000+ languages around the world, with thousands more yet to be done. One of the video screens there said you can support and donate to the work of Bible translation more info at illumiNations.Bible. (Yes, that is a real domain name; innovative indeed.)
Should I Get Membership?
7. Membership to Museum of the Bible was so worth it: unlimited admission for a year and more—like getting your name etched permanently on One Million Names wall. The museum is actually free to enter, but a suggested donation of $10-$15 is suggested. Here’s a museum that I would visit many times, even though I’m not local. They say it would take 72 hours to see everything. That’s at least 9 visits.
Get the Back Story
bonus #1: read the back story in Cary Summer’s book, Lifting Up the Bible: The Story Behind Museum of the Bible. The autographed hardback print edition can be found in the Museum Gift Shop until they run out. Act fast.
Connecting for Social Media
bonus #2: if you know who to ask, you could get the WiFi password to the guest network, because the cell phone signal for me was very weak inside. Lots to share on social media during a visit. (I’d advise they don’t give the password out to all or run an open WiFi, so network speed won’t suffer)