Editor’s note: On Saturday, May 2 The Master’s College Alumni Association is providing half-off tickets to anyone who visits Passages. For more information, click: https://masters.360alumni.com/events/view/603
Many dream of travelling the world, exploring unknown places and seeing historical narratives come to life. For most, grand plans slip away as the busyness of life settles in, and visions of visiting foreign countries are never realized.
Museum of the Bible has brought culture and history to Los Angeles by temporarily opening Passages. This museum is one of Santa Clarita’s latest additions and although it sits on Bouquet Canyon, one of the busiest streets in the city, many people are unaware of its existence or purpose. Still, Passages attracts several hundred visitors a week. These people exit the building with a greater understanding of and respect for the Bible and the people who sacrificed to make it accessible to the world.
Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby, opened Passages in 2011 as a tribute to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Passages is a travelling exhibit, Santa Clarita is the sixth city to host the 30,000 square foot museum. Guests can interact with animatronic men who represent instrumental figures in various parts of the Bible’s journey. Listening to audio, watching videos and interacting with exhibits brings the Bible to life in a new way for those who visit.
There are four wings available for exploration: transmission, translation, impact and controversy, each section serves a different purpose.
The Transmission wing displays artifacts and information that tell the story of how the Bible became accessible, including a live demonstration of a working Gutenburg Press replica. TMC graduate Scott Gilmore is one of the men who demonstrate the press to visitors. After providing a detailed explanation of the history and workings of the press, he gives them a dried copy of 2 Samuel 25 in Latin as a souveneir.
“The most interesting part is interacting with people about biblical history,” Gilmore said.
The translation section features a well-preserved first edition of the King James Bible, which was printed in 1611. Visitors can visit Jerome’s Cave and try their hand at writing with a feather quill. This part of the museum features Jerome and many other men who sacrificed years of their lives, sometimes putting themselves in danger so that they may accurately translate the Word of God.
Passages communicates the significance of the Bible through their impact section. This wing tells stories of how the Bible has influenced its readers to free slaves, create art and music, explore science and philosophy and shape cultural practices. The Dura Europos Synagogue section highlights Jewish history and how the Bible influenced them.
The controversy wing tells the story of how the Bible, and people’s interperetations of it has induced conflict throughout history. The holocaust and other genocides are featured as those who participated in these events justified their actions with certain texts from the Bible.
Each wing is intentionally planned to teach the Bible’s history in a memorable and impactful manner. Aaron Rutheford the director of Passages, and his wife, Linda Rutheford travel with the exhibit and share Green’s passion for sharing the history of the Bible.
“[The most impactful part for me is the] reaction from people who come in, the way they look at the Bible is completely changed, they never knew the price [that was paid to provide access to the Bible] it impacts people,” Rutheford said.
He was not alone in his desire to help people see how much is behind the Bible that so many people own today. Marguerite Bogosian began working at Passages when it opened in early April, her love and respect for the Bible propelling her to take the job. Bogosian and the rest of the Passages staff are knowledgeable and well spoken about the 400-plus artifacts in the museum.
“We’re wanting you to see the value of the Bible for mankind … I get thrilled when people come in and walk away in awe [of the Bible],” Bogosian said.
Passages will be open until February of 2016, with those who work there hoping people will walk away having seen the value of the Bible, all it’s been through, and how it has affected people over the years.
By Jessicah Lim