WASHINGTON – It's Christmas at the Museum of the Bible, though things are a little different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moment you walk in, you receive a warm welcome with the breathtaking "Follow the Star" exhibit in the museum's Grand Hall. Intricate light sculptures, digital displays, and music all come together in a beautiful retelling of the Christmas story. A giant Star of David is at the center of this exhibit.
Also back by popular demand, this year is renowned sculptor Tim Schmalz who's sculpture, "The Nativity," was just unveiled.
"Mary, Joseph, and Jesus together in a way that though they're distinct individual figures, they complement and harmonize together," explained Schmalz. "A scene of absolute joy and love."
Or how about a taste of international culture with the museum's "Christmas in Malta" exhibit? It includes ten handmade nativity scenes all crafted in Malta, a centuries-old tradition there constructing elaborate landscapes called "cribs."
Museum CEO Harry Hargrave hopes anyone who's in the area will stop by.
"We've had over 1,700,000 people come through here over the last three years and of course this year has been truly abbreviated but we are open," he told CBN News. "We're open seven days a week. We were the first museum to reopen and we're looking forward to seeing a lot of people."
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Hargrave predicts attendance will be about 25 to 30 percent of what it normally would be this year because of the pandemic. Of course, the museum is following the government's COVID-19 guidelines which include no large in-person events but don't affect regular visits.
In light of the pandemic, the museum also has an exhibit dedicated to healthcare workers.
"We have an area about early American history where we delve into the work of healthcare and of course the biblically-based organizations that have provided healthcare around the world," explained Hargrave.
Whether it's this exhibit, one of the Christmas exhibits, or any other, Hargrave says he wants the museum to be an uplifting place for visitors.
"We hope it to be a place of hope, a place of assurance of what the truth is," he said. "We think the Bible is the truth and it's a book of encouragement."
And that's something we could all use an extra dose of this year.
The Museum of the Bible also has a Christmas market, family nights, and other activities. More information can be found here.