On July the 5th 2017, The $500 million Bible Museum agrees to forfeit 5,500 Artifacts smuggled out of Iraq (Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York). The founders are forced to relinquish the artifacts and to pay a $3 million settlement.
This is a disturbing and uncomfortable read, when you consider this is a museum with a great deal of responsibility. Despite the museum's much needed potential for peace-building and harmony, it's difficult to feel at ease with the project. For many scholars, it feels like "evangelical propaganda" and to others the "proximity of the museum to the world-class Smithsonian and the Capitol has raised eyebrows".
In an interview with NPR, Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor of Jewish civilization at Georgetown University, questioned the location of the museum, two blocks south of the Mall, where it might overlook periodic rallies opposing abortion or same-sex marriage, offering brick-and-mortar moral support to conservative causes..(The Washington Post)
Interestingly, last month, the museum curators inked a deal to display a selection of objects from the Israeli government’s eminent Antiquities Authority. And the museum, "has hired David Trobisch, a prominent liberal academic, to head its collection. It will be up to Trobisch to win over skeptics and transform this intriguing assembly of artifacts into an institution that brings a bit of church to a secular state".
The Bible Museum in Washington DC, is set to open in November 2017...
Atlantic expands on this concern, writing ..... "The Museum of the Bible will open in Washington, D.C., two blocks from the National Mall. Like many of the city’s other museums, it is designed to attract hordes of visitors each year, and it will be vast—eight stories tall, and covering 430,000 square feet. Despite its location and size, however, it isn’t a government institution. It’s private, backed by the family of David Green, a wealthy businessman from Oklahoma City, better known as the founder of the Hobby Lobby retail chain, and it will house artifacts from the family’s stunning collection of biblical manuscripts, Torah scrolls, Dead Sea Scrolls, and cuneiform texts. The Greens’ collection is one of the largest private collections of such artifacts in the world, comprising some 40,000 objects—many of which, remarkably, were unknown to scholars and the general public before the Greens acquired them. And the Greens made their first purchase only six years ago" (Atlantic)