The $500 million Museum of the Bible founded by Hobby Lobby's controversial president has admitted it displayed fake Dead Sea Scrolls. Here's what it's like to visit.

  • The Museum of the Bible admitted this week that it showcased fake Dead Sea Scrolls in its massive collection.
  • The $500 million private Museum of the Bible opened last November, filled with artifacts and recreations of Biblical stories.
  • Hobby Lobby’s president – who paid $3 million in a case involving smuggling artifacts in 2017 – is one of the driving forces behind the museum.
  • The museum has been plagued by questions about how it will balance religion and facts.

A new scandal is plaguing the Museum of the Bible.

On Monday, the $500 million private museum admitted that third-party testing of what had been displayed as fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls revealed the artifacts were fake and likely modern forgeries. Five fragments have been removed from the museum as a result.

The Museum of the Bible opened in November 2017 in Washington, DC.

Even prior to its opening, the private museum had been plagued by questions regarding how it would balance religious messages and historical facts.

Things were further complicated when news broke in July 2017 that the museum chairman and Hobby Lobby president Steve Green had been involved in smuggling ancient Iraqi artifacts into the United States.The museum has also faced backlash on certain exhibits, such as the decision to display the Confederate flag and pro-slavery texts in an attempt to understand the Bible’s role in the Civil War.

Here’s everything you need to know about the controversial museum:


The Museum of the Bible is located in a 430,000-square-foot center in Washington, DC.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BU2utbFlG-0&hidecaption=1
html


Construction on the museum began in 2015.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BWNTYe1FaDv&hidecaption=1
html

Source: PBS


The museum is located two blocks from the National Mall.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BV7yYEpl4du&hidecaption=1
html


The Museum of the Bible hosts 40,000 biblical and religious artifacts, such as this Gospel Book from 17th-century Turkey.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BTj_jHDlF1j&hidecaption=1
html


Bibles on display range from the world’s largest Bible to Elvis Presley’s personal Bible.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbfpcyKBi9e&hidecaption=1
html


Green’s collection alone includes Babe Ruth’s Bible and the world’s largest collection of Torah scrolls.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BOskHlohECh&hidecaption=1
html


According to a statement from the Museum of the Bible, none of the artifacts identified in the $3 million smuggling settlement have ever been part of the museum’s collection.


The first exhibit to arrive at the museum was a 3,200-pound replica of the Liberty Bell that had to be lowered into the building while it was still under construction.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BVn1ZIRg44m&hidecaption=1
html


Other exhibits touch on topics including slavery, abolition, and the civil rights movement.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbYEnVTHZh0&hidecaption=1
html

Source:The Associated Press


Exhibits use design and technology to put a new spin on biblical stories and history.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbgE6OshCxY&hidecaption=1
html


An illustration of the Sea of Galilee and other biblical sites attempts to bring the narrative to life for visitors.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbYN-gADl9V&hidecaption=1
html

View this post on Instagram

Today I had the privilege to visit the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. The museum’s overall scope is incredible! Its attention to detail was fantastic! The technologies it has incorporated are insane! And the education & story telling is and will continue to be a blessing to all those who are able to experience it. If I’m going to be considered an “influencer” in this socially driven world, then know this; The more I see self love obsessed by others the more you’ll see God’s truth expressed by me. I truly love God, and I truly love his word. The holy bible has had a profound impact on my life, but today I got a glimpse at the powerful impact the Bible has had on the world. Isaiah 40:8 sums it up perfectly for me. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of God endures forever.” The museum opens to the public on the 18th of November! I will be back for sure! Thank you @museumofbible Pictured above is in the village of nazareth display over looking the Sea of Galilee. #nategeo #buzolicphoto

A post shared by Nathaniel Buzolic (@natebuzz) on


In addition to exhibits, the museum has a restaurant that serves foods from the Bible, with the menu changing based on season and regional focuses.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BpIWoZ_hnuM&hidecaption=1
html


The museum will also be home to a “biblical garden.”

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/Bbe5ks9HpY1&hidecaption=1
html


Visitors walk through 40-foot-tall bronze doors covered in biblical verses.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BWFmxstnJit&hidecaption=1
html


Unlike many of Washington, DC’s museums, the Museum of the Bible is privately funded, with much of its backing coming from the Green family.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbiJcZOj-IE&hidecaption=1
html


“As many people as we can educate about this book, the better,” Green told the Washington Post in 2014. “I think seeing the biblical foundations of our nation — for our legislators to see that, that a lot of that was biblically based, that we have religious freedoms today, which are a biblical concept, it can’t hurt being there.”

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BViR1r7Fqza&hidecaption=1
html

Source: The Washington Post


The fact that the museum is privately funded has raised concerns that it will focus on the Bible exclusively from a Christian perspective, promoting a specific evangelical interpretation of the Bible over an academic one.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BReZJOeBads&hidecaption=1
html

View this post on Instagram

#dc #ilookup

A post shared by Kathleen M. O’Donnell (@kayteeohdee) on


Museum of the Bible workers have said these criticisms are baseless, noting that the Israel Antiquities Authority is partners with the museum.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BV2OnjAFB01&hidecaption=1
html

Source: Fox News


“There’s just a basic need for people to read the book,” Green told the Associated Press. “This book has had an impact on our world and we just think people ought to know it and hopefully they’ll be inspired to engage with it after they come here.”

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbYTRoxHctG&hidecaption=1
html

View this post on Instagram

That first book ????

A post shared by Justine H. (@justsouledout) on

Source: The Associated Press


At the same time, Green has pushed for public schools to introduce a Bible curriculum, and he wrote in his book there is “only one interpretation” of the Bible.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/Bbcz-02g8-4&hidecaption=1
html

View this post on Instagram

Which way is up? #museumoftheBible #myDCcool

A post shared by Sheridan Betts (@itssheridan) on

Source:The Associated Press


The opening ceremony of the museum promoted an interfaith message, with guests including dignitaries, a rabbi, and two Roman Catholic cardinals bearing a message from Pope Francis.

embed type
instagram
oEmbedUrl
https://api.instagram.com/oembed/?url=http://instagr.am/p/BbczWP5gjhD&hidecaption=1
html

Source:The Associated Press

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.