by Diana Chandler
WASHINGTON (BP) — The Museum of the Bible slated to open in November in Washington will offer free admission while reserving special perks for members, the museum announced Aug. 11.
The museum, founded by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green and family, joins the ranks of such notable venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History in suggesting a donation in lieu of an admission fee, in this case $15.
Timed entry may be reserved online for guests and members at the museum slated to open Nov. 17.
Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers said the free admission is designed to encourage public engagement with the Bible.
“We can think of no more fundamental way to give people access to the treasures and experiences inside this museum,” Summers said in the press release, “than to offer public admission coupled with the ability to reserve timed-entry tickets.”
Basic membership beginning at $60 for an individual and $150 for families will allow unlimited early access, discounts in the museum gift shop and other perks, according to the museum’s website at museumofthebible.org.
Paid membership underwrites free admission, according to museum executive director Tony Zeiss.
“Members make visitors possible,” Zeiss said, “and each individual or family who commits annually will give people from around the world access to engage with the history, narrative and impact of the Bible.”
The 430,000-square-foot museum, just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, will house the expansive Green Collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts, a performance hall and exhibits designed to immerse visitors of all ages into interactive, biblically-based settings. Smithsonian.com described the venue in January as one of nine “must-see” museums opening in 2017.
Members may begin reserving timed entry tickets 10 a.m. Eastern Time Aug. 14 in advance of the museum’s fall opening. The online service will be available to guests beginning Aug. 28, also at 10 a.m., the museum said.
Full membership descriptions and purchase options are available at museumofthebible.org/join.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.