American Bible Society to Close down $60 Million Museum

The American Bible Society will be closing down its Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, around three years after the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based museum, which cost around $60 million, had opened.

In a press release emailed to The Christian Post on Monday morning, the ABS announced that the center was ending operations on April 1, with the last day for public visits to be March 28.

Full refunds will be given to those who bought tickets to visit the center after March 28, according to the ABS.

The press release cited “structural limitations,” the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns, and “other factors impacting sustainability” as the reasons for closing.

The center struggled from the onset, receiving only around $54,000 in ticket sales for the tax year of July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, while reporting total expenses of around $11 million, according to a statement of revenue.

Jennifer Holloran, who recently became president and CEO of the society, said in a statement that “the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center has served as a place of exceptional learning and inspiration since its doors opened.”

“We look forward to reimagining what the future of content could look like through a publicly accessible, digitized format,” she added.

“We’re tremendously grateful for our local Philadelphia partners, for those who have contributed to its vision, and for the FLDC’s staff who have invested their hearts into serving every person who has walked through the doors.”

FLDC Executive Director Rob Wonderling was quoted in the press release as saying that it had been “an honor to serve the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center and witness the many ways it has spurred inspiration, engagement, and personal discovery over the years at the heart of Independence Mall.”

“The center was an innovative vision for sharing the importance of Scripture and I’m proud of the role our dedicated staff played in its mission,” Wonderling continued.

Opened in May 2021, the center was located on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall and sought to educate people of all religious views about the impact of Christianity on American history.

The museum held its grand opening ceremony in July of 2021, coinciding with the city’s annual Wawa Welcome America Festival, with the ABS proclaiming that “guests can explore 25,000 square feet of interactive gallery space featuring groundbreaking technology.”

“Their journey through the museum will be guided by a handheld smart lamp, which they can use to digitally capture favorite Bible verses, quotes, and stories to revisit once they return home. Each gallery offers a new immersive experience,” explained the society.

“In one gallery, guests will come face-to-face with 21 American Changemakers whose lives and legacies were shaped by God’s Word. In another, guests will be able to listen to a soundscape of songs and Scripture read by American icons like Johnny Cash. And during a one-of-a-kind theater experience, guests will stroll through the streets of historic Philadelphia as they watch William Penn’s quest for religious freedom unfold.”

(Source: Christian Post)

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