An epic story deserves a fantastic ending.
On Museum of the Bible’s fourth floor, visitors will travel through a history of the Bible, including more than 500 rare texts and artifacts, multimedia displays and hands-on exhibits. Near the end, the subject will shift to how the Bible more recently has swept through Africa, Asia, the Pacific islands and South America.
Last will come the illumiNations room — a sensory burst bringing the visitor to the present day. Around the edges will be bookshelves full of Bibles and partial Bibles already in use by more than 2,000 language communities. Dust jackets will be color-coded to signify that a language has the full Bible, a New Testament or 25 or more chapters. Placeholder books will signify languages still waiting for Bible translation to begin. Meanwhile, a digital ticker will display real-time countdowns: counting up for the global number of Bibles translated, and counting down the remaining languages with no heart-language Scripture at all. Other live statistics in the room will update global translation progress, even at the chapter level. “You will instantly get the point that, even though we’ve had this steep increase in the last centuries, Bible translation is not complete,” says Seth Pollinger, director of museum content. On screens at the room’s center, visitors will be able to watch and listen to dedication ceremonies where people have received the Bible for the first time in their heart language. “For average English speakers, the languages will be foreign, but the emotions will be arresting,” Pollinger says. “Visitors will be able to make a deep connection with these people who are receiving a Bible translation for the first time.” Meanwhile, a large, touch-screen map table will let visitors explore dozens of translation projects now in progress. The high-tech gallery will represent the museum’s effort to vividly portray the remaining global need and the movement to fill that need — and it will create a perfect culmination for the history of the Bible, Pollinger says. “It will be a prominent exhibit, and culturally very important for people across the globe. And I think illumiNations will help put a capstone on the entire exhibit about the history of the Bible. We hope that the museum can be a meaningful exposure for illumiNations and the desire to eradicate Bible poverty.”