WASHINGTON (AP) – The long-awaited Museum of the Bible is opening in Washington.
The $500 million museum traces the history and extensive influence of the Bible. The building includes restaurants, a theater and clear views of the Washington Monument and Capitol.
The project is largely funded by the conservative Christian owners of the Hobby Lobby crafts chain. Hobby Lobby president Steve Green says the aim is to educate not evangelize. But skeptics call the project a Christian ministry disguised as a museum.
Green has amassed a collection of biblical artifacts. He paid a $3 million fine this year after federal prosecutors say he was caught up in an antiquities smuggling ring. Museum officials say the items involved were never destined for the museum.
The Museum of the Bible opens Friday. Admission is free.