Making the Bible Cool Again
By Timothy Smith
It was a beautiful summer night in Chicago.
After my presentation, a 30-something-year-old man pulled me aside and made a remarkable confession. He had arrived, he said, a skeptic. He was leaving, though, as an advocate for Museum of the Bible.
He was referring to the subject of my presentation, one among many. My work as the Chief Development Officer at Museum of the Bible has given me the privilege of crisscrossing the country, visiting more than 100 cities, sharing the museum’s vision, building awareness, and asking people to join us in funding this historic project.
The juxtaposition — talking about a museum that will bring ancient artifacts to life utilizing the very latest in technology; papyrus leafs to Augmented Reality; scrolls to a virtual flight around Washington, D.C. — always brings oohs and ahs from the crowds.
But this encounter was especially encouraging, because of how this young man summed it up: “You’re going to make the Bible cool again.”
Here’s where he’s coming from: Among his peers, the Bible isn’t seen as a relevant book. His generation mostly views it as an ancient collection of irrelevant stories. They are indeed harsh skeptics.
If we can engage his generation — help them experience the Bible’s history, narrative, and impact — then we can get through to anyone!
Museum of the Bible’s vision is to invite people of all faiths, people of no faith, people from all backgrounds and traditions, and people of all generations to come and engage with this great book. It is not Museum of the Bible’s purpose to convince anyone of the Bible’s place in their life, but rather to present it accurately and creatively, and let them encounter it for themselves.
Museum of the Bible is going to greatly exceed people’s expectations. Guests are going to quickly discover this isn’t their grandparents’ museum.
For starters, they’ll walk through the doors and pick up one of the most intriguing tablets you can imagine — their digital docent to guide the tour ... a state-of-the-art handheld museum navigation system which has been created exclusively for Museum of the Bible. It will:
- make your restaurant reservations,
- coordinate your museum tour (individual, family, or group),
- offer resources enabling you to dig deeper into the story of the Bible, and
- provide your Augmented Reality connection to interactive exhibits throughout the museum.
- After you set your tour times, indicate your interests, and determine your rendezvous points with the rest of your party, the digital docent will intelligently guide you through the museum.
- If you’re on a tight schedule, your tablet will time your tour to make your deadline.
- It will automatically reroute you to help you avoid the most congested areas.
- It will also provide a map of the entire museum in case you prefer to launch out on your own.
- You get instant language translation if you need it, and personalized assistance if you’re hearing or visually impaired.
- You can message other members of your family or group at any time.
- As you tour the museum, your digital docent will offer commentary based not only on your location at the moment, but also on the specific interests and preferences you’ve indicated.
- Meanwhile, it will direct you to popular exhibits, theaters, and attractions at optimum times.
- It will even help you find the nearest restroom!
Through an amazing array of state-of-the-art technology, you’ll become immersed in a most unique encounter with this most amazing book ... the Bible.
To detail all the amazing Museum of the Bible exhibits would take hours, but here’s one of the most extraordinary:
The Flyboard Ride
Using the latest in flight simulation technology, you’ll fly through Washington, D.C., touring sites and monuments that feature biblical references.
This immersive exhibit will be the experience of a lifetime, as theme-park technology lets you discover what it feels like to “take flight” as you virtually soar through the air.
On this incredible journey, you will be astonished to see how the Bible has influenced numerous famous points of interest. The Flyboard Ride reveals hidden biblical references throughout the capital’s famous sites and monuments: the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress, the Capitol building, Union Station, and more.
The Flyboard Ride is an exciting, visceral ride through our nation’s capital as never seen before. A virtual tour of Washington, D.C.
Another standout exhibit:
The Joshua Machine
This is a “Times Square of the Bible,” with streaming information coming in live, in real time, from the Web, from individuals around the world, and from biblical places and organizations.
You’ll become part of the exhibit as you share the impact of the Bible on your own life in this state-of-the-art video-recording booth in the center of the “Bible Now” area of the museum. “The Bible Now” will display up-to-the-second updates of all that is happening with the Bible across digital and social media worldwide.
In the center of it all is the Joshua Machine video-recording booth. You can share your personal testimony about the Bible with the museum. (A friendly virtual narrator guides you through the simple recording steps.) You’ll enter your name and hometown, and your recording will go into the museum collection.
Selected recordings are featured on the interactive touchscreens outside the recording booth for future visitors to experience.
There’s more — lots more! By the time your museum visit comes to an end, your digital docent will offer you additional content, including ways you can access the museum virtually after your visit.
And before you leave, the tablet will give you an opportunity to offer feedback — and take advantage of discount coupons for related products.
Experience it all for yourself!
Museum of the Bible will open to the public on November 17, 2017. But you don’t have to wait until then to get a closer look. Visit the Museum of the Bible website. Take a virtual tour. And visit my website for the latest from my vantage point, as Chief Development Officer at Museum of the Bible.
Most of all, reading this, my hope is that you will make plans now to attend. It will absolutely be a jaw-dropping experience. You may just come away saying . . . “Wow! The Bible is really cool!”