Open-air “biblical garden"—Museum of the Bible’s impending opening puts it back in the news


“Middle Eastern-themed Manna [restaurant] is already booked weeks in advance”

Hobby Lobby is a national chain of stores dedicated to arts and crafts supplies. David Green opened the first store in 1972 in Oklahoma and eventually expanded the chain nationwide; by 2015, Hobby Lobby had more than 600 stores across the United States. Hobby Lobby remains a closely-held private for-profit corporation headed by the Green family, devout Christians who profess to incorporate their religious beliefs into their corporate policies. Hobby Lobby entered the national conversation about health care policy in 2012 when the company filed a lawsuit challenging the federal requirement to include contraception in health insurance policies offered by companies to their employees. The lawsuit was resolved in the company’s favor in a controversial decision by the US Supreme Court which held, in effect, that private closely-held corporations like Hobby Lobby had the same religious freedom protections guaranteed to US citizens by the Constitution.

In 2012, the Museum of the Bible was incorporated as a non-profit organization, with David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, as the Chair of the Board of Trustees and with the Green family the primary funders of the organization. The Green family also has donated thousands of artifacts to the museum’s collections, which also contains acquisitions from other sources and will include temporary loans from partner institutions in the US and abroad. The museum is under construction (see photo) in Washington DC and is scheduled to open in Fall 2017.

Although Hobby Lobby, a private for-profit corporation, and the Museum of the Bible, a private non-profit organization, are separate entities, they are inextricably linked by the involvement of the Green family. This relationship became particularly problematic with the recent announcement by the US Department of Justice of a $3 million settlement and the return of 5,500 illegally-acquired artifacts from Iraq, objects acquired by Hobby Lobby.

Now that the opening date of the museum approaches, the Museum of the Bible is back in the news.

Private Parties Are Flocking to the Museum of the Bible’s Forthcoming Restaurant

By Warren Rojas

Eater Washington DC

September 26, 2017

Monument to myth or history? Museum of the Bible to open in Washington, D.C

By Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Detroit Free Press

September 24, 2017

Interview with the authors of “Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby”

Scholars Highlight Hobby Lobby Owners' Path From Retail Giant to Bible Curators

By Shannon Hill

Publishers Weekly

September 25, 2017

For additional information see -

Hobby Lobby, Museum of the Bible, and illegal antiquities from Iraq

By the International Heritage News Network

July 7, 2017

Hobby Lobby’s $3 million smuggling case casts a cloud over the Museum of the Bible

By Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bayley

The Washington Post

July 6, 2017

Hobby Lobby’s Black Market Buys Did Real Damage

By Candida Moss and Joel Baden

The New York Times

July 6, 2017

Is the Museum of the Bible on a dangerous search for artifacts? A word from UNESCO’s Director General.

By International Heritage Network News

July 18, 2017

Hobby Lobby’s alleged illegal antiquities dealers arrested in Israel

By International Heritage Network News

August 1, 2017

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