Is the new Museum of the Bible, which opened up in Washington DC in November 2017, the many technologically advanced museum in the world?

Incorporating advanced AR and also a unique indoor navigation and also geofencing technique, the Museum of the Bible allows visitors to devise a personalised experience, utilising cutting-edge technology to educate fairly than evangelise.

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While the museum’s opening was shadowed by some controversy around artefact provenance, visitor numbers are exceeding projected figures. With one of the biggest collections the biblical artefacts and also texts in the world, the large 430,000 sq ft institution is impressing top top a an international scale.

Cary Summers

President and also CEO Cary Summers, previous CEO of the Herschend family Entertainment group, spoke with about the ambitious enterprise, if Kurt Martin, Museum of the holy bible Director of software Development, outlined the technology.

Summers studied math, physics, aerospace and analytical design at the college of Texas. He then moved first into retail, wherein he to be president of Abercrombie and Fitch, and then the layout park world. Because that him, this is something of a enthusiasm project. On retiring 21 years ago, he formed the Nemeniah Group. The told “It allowed me to focus on the concept of structure ‘attractions’, or one-of-a-kind travelling exhibits. And also that would attract people who had never collection foot in a church.

That is what has led me for the last two decades to it is in heavily involved in the scriptures world, and with antiquities and artefacts.”

Bringing the Museum of holy bible to life


Describing the Museum the the Bible’s inception, he explains: “There room hundreds of scriptures museums around the world. However, there has never been just one of such a huge scope and a an international nature. There have actually been discussions end a period of time about building a holy bible museum that a scope that would lure a many attention. Among the family members that was motivated with that concept was the Green household out the Oklahoma City. They have a rich and wonderful background of supporting jobs that indicate the Bible, so the is how this came about.”

The environment-friendly family, owners of Oklahoma City-based handmade retailer understanding Lobby and also Christian education and also supply agency Mardel, has actually amassed one of the world’s largest private collection of rarely biblical texts and also artefacts.

The museum has three key exhibit floors, lecture and also meeting spaces, and also restaurants. It likewise has a rooftop garden, a ballroom and a 472-seat theatre through wraparound projection walls. The has drawn some media criticism for a regarded unwillingness to connect with contradictory narratives, or come exhibit crucial thinking. Summers says: “We space not make the efforts to split hairs on several of these an extremely controversial topics; there space other world that carry out that an extremely well, and an ext power come them.”


On encouraging meaningful investigation

Gutenberg entrances at the Museum that the Bible

“We are simply trying to encourage world to investigate the book. We space not make the efforts to press one version over another, or Protestantism over Catholicism, because that example. And I think because of the we get the trust of the various faith traditions. One team told us that we are moral brokers that the Bible.”

The procedure of building the museum took number of years. “First us tested the concept, travelling the United states with mobile exhibits; then we hired a agency to identify the finest city, i m sorry is exactly how we finished up in Washington DC. The took number of months to find a location. Then, last year, in November, we opened up the Museum the the Bible.”

Its reception, Summers says, to be interesting: “We had actually a incredible amount the press prior to we opened. Many of that inaccurate, because there to be no method to compare what we were doing. Even though us had thorough renderings and delivered it precisely how we confirmed it, there to be a lot of speculation. Climate there was additionally a perception that it would certainly not it is in a significant scholastic effort, and also that was totally wrong.

However, that continues: “Once the media was able to come in, we had actually over 4000 short articles written, filmed, and broadcast about the museum, reaching 8 billion people. Many of them then started gaining it right.

So it’s been a very interesting launch.”

An unanticipated demographic and also a museum for every faiths

Over the months due to the fact that opening, visitor number have far exceeded expectations. Children formed an unexpectedly large proportion that the demographic, as result of the institution’s sophisticated technology.

Summers says: “We have had over a hundred various nationalities come through. There were representatives of the various faith traditions, and also we had actually a wonderful recognition from the international neighborhood through your embassies below in Washington DC, who have actually held functions here.

The mix is around 65% female, i beg your pardon we had predicted, based upon our travel exhibits. However, the surprise has actually been the number of children. Part days we’re simply overwhelmed v the variety of young human being in the museum.”


Technologically interactive

He adds: “We room the many technologically progressed museum in the world. That will change, yet right now, we are it. And the young world love the interactions: we have actually over 54 video clip vignettes, 12 theatres, and also handheld devices. Lock can crucial in just how much time they desire to spend, the topics they want to see, and also the maker tracks them. It likewise gives lock a map they deserve to follow, correcting castle if castle are getting off course.

That is a large motivator because that everybody. Most absolutely for period group that lives and also breathes within an electronic world.”

The museum is non-evangelical, presenting the holy bible as an important cultural document, exploring its history and influence. “We take it a position as soon as we opened the museum that it would be non-sectarian. We room not do the efforts to encourage any particular denomination, and also we room not make the efforts to sell you anything. The museum has been defined by many world who would certainly say they room of no belief as a ‘safe haven’. They feeling comfortable comes in; they have the right to learn and also investigate, therefore we have really accomplished what we collection out come do.

We think the holy bible can stand on its own two feet.”

The bible in America exhibition in the Museum of the Bible

So much an ext than spiritual texts

Summers perform the three aspects presented:

“The impact of the Bible: what is the doing throughout the world? just how is the US started upon the Bible? What duty does the scriptures play?The background of the holy bible in translation; how did it acquire translated? exactly how did it obtain transmitted, distributed?Then the story of the Bible, which are mostly divided in between the Hebrew texts which many refer to as the old Testament, and also the brand-new Testament.”

A variety of education strategies communicate the young: “We have actually a tablet-based AR ‘Bible Curriculum’. The is a material we have created about the influence of the stare and history of the Bible. This will certainly be customised per country. It’s gift beta tested in Israel, and also will it is in introduced into the united Kingdom later on this year. The is additionally being translated into Spanish, and also will be dispersed in Spanish speak countries. There is likewise a paper-based version.

Then we have actually the Scholar’s Initiative. We have around 60 universities roughly the world to which we send either artefacts or high-resolution pictures. They perform research for us, climate we aid them publish your research. We have programs that help college-age children with scholarships to investigate the scriptures with time in Israel, or in Oxford, one of the crucial facilities, together with Cambridge, that we use every year.”


“There is likewise education in ~ the museum.”

Summers continues: “Firstly, constant symposia or lectures. Next, a routine to bring young world here on field trips. And also thirdly, we have a college regimen which involves university students coming in for periods ranging indigenous one to ninety day. They will certainly be together interns, taking on research study projects right here in the museum itself.”

Current exhibitions at the museum include: ‘Sacred Drama: Performing the scriptures in Renaissance Florence’; ‘Noblewomen and also the Bible: 7 Stories native the home of Stolberg’, which explores the role of the bible in the stays of seven noblewomen from among Germany’s oldest dynasties; and also ‘Jerusalem and also Rome: cultures in context in the first Century CE’.


“We built this museum with the idea that us would have actually a consistent array the exhibitions coming in, and can accommodate up to six at one time, enabling us to have various focuses. We have actually a partnership with the Vatican Museum and also Library; they have actually a long-term space here, together does the Israel antiquity Authority.”

He adds: “Our next venture in the center of August will certainly be a virtual truth tour of bible locations in Israel.”

Technology in the Museum that the Bible

Kurt Martin

Kurt Martin, director of software Development, began his own software business in 2000. He marketed the business in 2006, staying on together president. Boy name then functioned as a contractor, law “some yes, really cool stuff because that the waiting force”, prior to joining the Museum of the bible in 2015.

He explained the technology that is leading the ar in regards to museum experiences, most notably a ground-breaking indoor navigation modern technology that is precise to within 6 inches, guiding customers to exact locations and which deserve to be offered to administer detailed details on the artefact under scrutiny.

Technology has been approached in regards to three ‘pillars’: personalisation, navigation and accessibility. That explains: “I have actually been affiliated from the get-go in the digital guide, which gives personalisation, navigation, and access features. The is, if you will, a digital docent.

We have arisen its an extremely accurate indoor navigation using an innovation called Ultra WideBand. We space able to detect the place of anyone in the museum with among these digital guides.”

Utilizing the DecaWave DW1000 UWB chip, the insurmountable concerns of different location technologies – GPS, for example, i beg your pardon can’t penetrate the special museum walls – space avoided. The Museum the the bible is the only provider that this modern technology at this point. Martin to add that: “There is distinct hardware top top the machine itself and a network within the museum that tells us the location. It is a consistent back-and-forth.

Personalisation and Accessibility

From a personalisation standpoint, travellers can select what galleries the they want. They click a button, and navigate native spot to spot, learning some really cool, exciting side and earlier stories regarded the artefacts in the museum. As soon as they complete a gallery, castle navigate to the following spot. The other component of that is, indigenous the language perspective, we are in the procedure of translating all the content right into ten various languages overall.

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We have actually text panels related to artefacts transparent the museum, and also if you nothing speak English, girlfriend can emphasis the digital overview on the text, press a button, and also it will certainly play that text on display for girlfriend , which is a very cool feature.”

Accessibility, the third ‘pillar’, is quiet in development. One unprecedented attribute for the visually impaired will transform the map the the museum come a list. “If the visually impaired guest walks right into an area, the device, using typical Google Talkback, will check out off those items that are nearby. When the guest hears one that interests them, they talk back, and also it will automatically play the information around the artefacts.”

Geofences have been drawn so the if people walk into a specific location, the an equipment will be tuned come a channel. This channel will then play audio contents in the area, stopping when they relocate out.

VR and AR experiences to look front to in the future

Speaking of features to come, martin says: “We space working through a agency to provide some VR experiences. That should be opened up in the next month or two. We also have huge plans for whole VR-driven theatre that will probably take place next year. In terms of augmented truth /AR, we are working on developing AR experiences because that adults. There is already a kids’ track, wherein we have actually gamified their tour. It’s a yes, really nice implementation.”

There is, that adds, one further function launching soon. This function will enable visitors to personalise your journey so the experience becomes nearly infinitely repeatable:

“We have actually seven large touch tables in the lobby. Friend will have the ability to put your an equipment on the table, which will recognise you. An interface will appear, offering an insight into the galleries and also floors the the museum. This will permit you, indigenous the table, come personalise your tour, dragging the artefacts you want to view onto your device. Climate you begin your tour.”