New Bible Museum to Unveil Its Approach to Creating Exhibit Content and Tackling Provenance

Panel of Independent Scholars and Museum Leaders to Discuss Evolutionary Process for Developing Content, Address Questions About Artifacts on Display in 430,000-Square-Foot Museum

One month before it opens to the public, Museum of the Bible—the 430,000-square-foot museum being dedicated Nov. 17 three blocks from the U.S. Capitol—will host a scholarly panel discussion on Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. at the museum. The event will outline the rigorous process used to create content displayed throughout the museum and answer questions about the museum's collection practices, some of which have been challenged.

The panel of diverse, independent scholars who were involved in the development or review of museum content, and museum leaders will address compelling questions, including:

  • How have exhibit content plans for Museum of the Bible evolved over the past three years?
  • Is the museum nonsectarian in its approach?
  • How did Museum of the Bible determine what is included in its exhibits?
  • How is the museum ensuring all of its exhibits adhere to the highest ethical standards, especially regarding provenance?

MEDIA NOTE: To expedite entry to this panel discussion, please apply for media credentials in advance here. Those media applying online for credentials through Oct. 10 will be expedited, while those who apply online later or on-site on Oct. 17 may be delayed. To pick up credentials and pass through security upon arrival, media must present a photo ID and working media credential or story assignment on media outlet letterhead signed by an editor/producer.

ON-SITE MEDIA CONTACTS: Heather Cirmo, 213.864.6645, and Adrienne Brown, 404.998.1106.

"We want this museum to be enriching and engaging to all people," said Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers. "To that end, we have tapped many of the world's leading scholars with expertise across many subjects and faith traditions, including those with Jewish, Protestant and Catholic proficiency and perspectives, to help us craft the storylines and narrative themes of this museum," he added.

Participants in the conversation about the museum, whose singular mission is to invite everyone to engage with the history, narrative and impact of the Bible, are:

  • Museum of the Bible Vice President Steven Bickley, who will moderate the dialogue; 
  • Gordon Campbell, who holds a D.Phil. and D.Litt., currently serves at University of Leicester as fellow in renaissance studies, and contributed to the museum’s History floor and Impact floor;
  • Barbara Lucas, who earned an Ed.D. and D.Min., recently retired as professor of religious education and urban ministry at the New York campus of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, and contributed to the Impact floor of the museum;
  • Seth Pollinger, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical interpretation from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, joined Museum of the Bible in 2015 and serves as director of museum content;
  • Lawrence Schiffman, who holds a Ph.D., is currently the Judge Abraham Lieberman professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies and director of the Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish studies at New York University, and contributed to the museum’s History floor and Narrative floor;
  • Timothy Shah, who earned a Ph.D. from Harvard, is research professor of government at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, is senior director with the Religious Freedom Institute; is director for international research at Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Research Project, and contributed to the creation of the museum's Impact floor;
  • Summers, who will give an overview of the museum's evolutionary approach to the creation of its content; and
  • David Trobisch, Th.D., who oversees the thousands of rare biblical texts and artifacts that today comprise the Museum of the Bible Collections, and serves as the collections’ director advising on new acquisitions and the collections' international traveling exhibits, as well as lecturing and writing.

"Engaging the expertise of these world-class scholars while developing the museum's content has helped us present a balance of respected positions while not advocating for any of them," said Summers. "To safeguard our academic rigor and stay true to our mission, dozens of archaeologists, professors, theologians and other scholars have lent their formidable talents and expertise to ensure Museum of the Bible exhibits are of the highest quality."

The panel will conclude the 75-minute program by taking questions from the media.

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2 p.m.

WHERE: The under-construction Museum of the Bible, 400 4th St. SW, Washington, D.C. (Federal Center SW Metro stop)

RSVP: This media event is open to media approved through the credential application process (click here to apply). Tuesday, Oct. 10, is the last day for expedited processing of credential applications; submissions after that day and on-site requests may cause a delay in receipt of credentials and entry into the panel discussion. To pick up credentials and pass through security upon arrival, media must present a photo ID and working media credential or story assignment on media outlet letterhead signed by an editor/producer.

PARKING: There are no provisions for on-site parking for media at this event. Please plan accordingly.

ATTIRE: The museum is an active construction site, and access is by stairs only (elevators not functional at this stage of construction). Please dress accordingly: pants that extend past ankles (no dresses, skirts, leggings, etc., and no skin showing on ankles) and flat, hard-soled shoes (no spiked heels). Safety gear, if required, will be provided.

About Museum of the Bible
Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the history, narrative and impact of the Bible. Admission to the museum is free with a suggested donation. A fly-through of the Museum is viewable here.

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