Passages, a 30,000-square-foot, interactive, traveling exhibit chronicling the history of the Bible, from its transmission and translation to its impact and controversies.
The family-friendly exhibition features more than 400 rare biblical texts and artifacts from one of the world’s largest private collections—the Museum Collection. Named after the Green family, owners of national arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby, the 40,000-item collection includes artifacts that span biblical history from ancient to modern times. Since its debut in 2011, the Museum Collection “has created a buzz” (Fox News) and has been called “a sampler of Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant treasures” that span from ancient times to the digital age (USA Today).
Included in Passages are:
- First-century B.C. Dead Sea Scroll fragments
- First editions of the King James Bible
- Codex Climaci Rescriptus, containing the most extensive early biblical texts similar to Jesus’ household language
- Torah scrolls that survived the Nazi Holocaust
- Cuneiform tablets dating to the time of Abraham
- Early and first editions of the Douay-Rheims Catholic Old and New Testaments
- Rare letters and Bibles from Martin Luther, John Wycliffe and William Tyndale
- The world’s smallest Bible—and the largest, containing more than 8,000 pages and weighing more than 1,000 pounds
- The original, handwritten manuscript of the biblically inspired Battle Hymn of the Republic
Visitors to Passages go behind the scenes of the Bible, taking an interactive journey through time and place to experience how the biblical narrative has been passed on from ancient times to the modern age.
Contextual settings tell the story of the journey of Scripture through the ages, such as:
- An ancient Jewish synagogue housing Torah scrolls that survived the Nazi Holocaust
- King James’ chamber at Westminster Abbey, where visitors are thrust into the middle of a heated debate over the translation of the most popular English Bible
- Israel’s Qumran Caves, home of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls discovery in 1947
- An archaeological tent site revealing how biblical texts are recovered from ancient Egyptian mummy masks
- Battle Hymn of the Republic author Julia Ward Howe’s parlor, where life-size, talking holograms of Howe and President Abraham Lincoln lead guests in a reflection on faith in the time of the American Civil War
People of all ages see, touch, feel and experience the creation of the book that has altered history, shaped cultures, inspired minds and changed lives. Historical figures, hands-on activities and digital technologies introduce visitors to the diverse personalities who, over the centuries, lived and died to capture, preserve, translate and study the Bible, features include:
- A working replica of the Gutenberg printing press
- “The Wilde World of the Bible” kids’ adventure, featuring a special Noah’s Ark experience and multimedia developed by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer
- iPod Touch audio tour for laymen and scholars alike
- St. Jerome’s Cave, where guests imitate 4th-century monks transcribing the Bible by candlelight
- Holograms and video screens that re-enact historical scenes related to the Bible
- A kids’ scavenger hunt guided by iPod Touch and led by Louie the Lion
- Animatronics of historical figures like Queen Anne Boleyn and William Tyndale, who played major roles in preserving and translating the Scriptures over the centuries
The Bible is the most-debated, most-banned, most-loved, most-hated, best-selling book of all time. More than any other book, it has influenced the lives of people around the world and helped to shape nearly every aspect of culture throughout history including government, science, literature, art and more.
THE FUTURE OF PASSAGES
Artifacts on display at Passages will eventually be part of Museum of the Bible, a 430,000-square-foot, international museum dedicated to the impact, history and narrative of the Bible. It will open in 2017 three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., inviting all people to engage with the Bible through a scholarly and engaging presentation of the Bible’s impact, history and narrative.
PASSAGES EXHIBITION HISTORY:
March 31, 2011: Washington
Passages was announced to gathering of business, government, academic and religious leaders at the Vatican Embassy (Apostolic Nunciature to the Holy See) in Washington
May – October 2011: Oklahoma City
Passages made its worldwide premiere before 65,000 visitors in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby’s headquarters and the Green family. The 14,000-square-foot, interactive, multimedia exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art presented more than 300 rare items on display, including one of the world’s earliest-known, near-complete Bibles—Codex Climaci Rescriptus—which is the only surviving New Testament text similar to Jesus’ household language of Palestinian Aramaic.
November 2011 – June 2012: Atlanta
Passages opened in Atlanta with 150 new artifacts added to the 23,000-square-foot experience. In addition to the 450 rare biblical texts and artifacts on display, guests could enjoy rotating exhibits including items illustrating longstanding Judeo-Christian traditions in Africa; papers, tracts and early printed books illustrating the impact of the Bible on American culture and history; and a collection of Jewish artifacts and rare scrolls spanning a millennium, including scrolls that have survived centuries of persecution at the hands of the Nazis, the Spanish Inquisition and radical Islam.
September 2012 – March 2013: Charlotte, North Carolina
Passages in Charlotte grew to more than 30,000 square feet showcasing 400 rare biblical texts and artifacts from the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox faith traditions. Among the 400 rare biblical texts and artifacts were new additions to the collection, including Cuneiform tablets, The Wyman Fragment of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Jewish manuscript leaves from the Cairo Genizah discovery, three additional Dead Sea Scroll fragments and a new gallery called Qumran Cave, a life-sized recreation of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls excavation site.
May 2013 – February 2014: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs became the fourth U.S. city to host Passages. Which expanded to 40,000 square feet of historical settings, interactive technologies and hands-on activities that tell the history of the Bible. It took 40 tractor-trailers to bring Passages and its 450 biblical artifacts to its new Colorado Springs location. Four new, family-friendly themed rooms were introduced: “God’s Word Survived” a reflective look at how God’s Word and people have endured through history; a planetarium-style “Lunar Room” transporting visitors to the surface of the moon to view the famous Lunar Bible; “The Wilde World of the Bible”interactive kids’ adventure featuring multimedia designed by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer; and the “Battle Hymn Room,” which displays Julia Ward Howe’s original, Scripture-inspired, handwritten manuscript of the Battle Hymn of the Republic as well as life-size, talking holograms of Howe and President Abraham Lincoln reflecting on faith in the time of the American Civil War.
April 12, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015: Springfield, Missouri
Springfield is the fifth U.S. city to host Passages with a 30,000-square-foot exhibit featuring 400 artifacts and rare texts.
Other items from the Museum Collection have been on exhibition at museums, universities and specialty libraries across the U.S., Cuba, Africa and Europe.