U.S. Religious Museums: 8 Options

From New York to Utah, here are eight places that showcase religious art, history and beliefs:

Museums and exhibitions throughout the United States spotlight the religious heritage of both the nation and the world. From New York to Utah, here are eight places that showcase religious art, history and beliefs:

Billy Graham Library, Charlotte, North Carolina

Billy Graham Library

Billy Graham Library

Designed to reflect Billy Graham’s journey from a farm boy to an internationally known evangelist, the barn-shaped building is located on 20 landscaped acres outside of Graham’s hometown of Charlotte. Visitors can retrace Graham’s life through multimedia presentations, photos and memorabilia. They also will get to tour the home where Graham lived from age nine until he left for college. Admission is free. Groups of 15 or more will need a reservation, which can be scheduled by calling 704-401-3270, or via email librarytours@bgea.org. The library is closed on Sundays.

Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky

This state-of-the-art, 70,000-square-foot museum recreates Biblical scripture, placing characters into familiar settings. Adam and Eve, serpents and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is one of the many scenes in the Creation Museum. The 160 exhibits depict life-sized animals, people and scenery. Visitors will encounter representations of the wonders of creation and Jesus’ promise for the future. The special effects theater provides a whirlwind experience as visitors take a magical quest into God’s Kingdom. The Creation Museum has three outside gardens filled with many kinds of animals. A minimum of 15 is required for a group reservation. For more information, contact 888-582-4253.

Billy Graham Center Museum, Wheaton, Illinois

The Billy Graham Center Museum is located on the campus of Wheaton College, which is located less than 30 miles from downtown Chicago. Visitors will experience a greater understanding of Christianity through rare artifacts and exhibits that depict old and new Christian messages. Contemporary Christian art is displayed throughout the museum. Tours are available for groups of 10 or more, and are available by appointment at 630-752-5909 or bgc.museum@wheaton.edu. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Passages Bible Exhibit, Charlotte, North Carolina

This traveling art exhibit combines robots and ancient biblical passages to bring stories to life. Attracting thousands of annual visitors, Passages Bible Exhibit has both ancient and contemporary art exhibits ranging from the Christian Scribe Room to Early Reformation Bible. A movie theater presents religious films. The exhibit is in Charlotte through March 2013. Contact 704-510-2281 or info@explorepassages.com.

Wycliffe Discovery Center, Orlando, Florida

Wycliffe Discovery Center

Wycliffe Discovery Center

Learn about the art and science of Bible translation, and watch as people experience the power of God’s Word in their own language. The Wycliffe Discovery Center is 4,500 square feet of hands-on exhibits, games and videos for the whole family. Visitors can learn about the origins of the Bible and how they can use God’s word to help the marginalized groups of today. Children’s workshops are available for students who want to explore the world of Bible translation through stories, arts and crafts. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more. Group tours and catered meals are offered. For more information, contact 407- 852-3626 or wycliffediscoverycenter_orlando@wycliffe.org.

Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), Chicago, Illinois

Founded in 2005 on the campus of Loyola University, LUMA is located in downtown Chicago, a historic Gothic building facing Michigan Avenue. The museum contains eight main exhibits representing the five major religions: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. The museum contains two distinct collections–the Martin D’Arcy, S.J. Collection and the LUMA collection. The first is noted for its three-dimensional objects, which embody both religious and secular life during the European Renaissance. The second recognizes the museum’s mission to explore spiritual questions from the major religions, combining contemporary and ancient art with photographs, prints and textiles. Contact 312-915-7600 or luma@luc.edu.

Church History Museum, Salt Lake City, Utah

Church History Museum, Salt Lake City

Church History Museum, Salt Lake City

Relive the fascinating story of the early Mormon pioneers, who began as a small group dedicated to developing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Exhibits include covered wagons and log homes that reflect early Mormon life in Salt Lake City. In addition to Mormon history, the Church History Museum offers an exquisite art collection, plus special exhibits dealing with various religious topics. For more information, call 801-240-3310 or email churchmuseum@ldschurch.org.

Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), New York City, New York

This museum celebrates art inspired by the Bible and its impact on the Jewish and Christian traditions. The Rare Bible Collection is known for its diverse collection of scriptures printed in more than 2,000 languages. The collection, one of the largest in the United States, is noted primarily for documenting the history of the Bible in its original Greek and Hebrew, and the early translations into various languages. Admission is free. Call 212-408-1500 or email info@mobia.org

-Stephen Kaminski