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Traveling Exhibition on The Bible Makes Its World Premiere at Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Hobby Lobby President Steve Green Announces Launch of First Public Display of The Green Collection; Gives Preview to Diverse Group of Dignitaries in Washington, D.C.
"This exhibition is a 'tour de force' of the history of the most-banned, most-debated, best-selling book of all time."
─Steve Green, President, Hobby Lobby, World's largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer
OKLAHOMA CITY, March 31, 2011─Some 200 business, government, academic and religious leaders gathered this evening at the Vatican Embassy (Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See) as Hobby Lobby President Steve Green announced a worldwide traveling exhibition launching from the Oklahoma City Museum of Art May 16-Oct. 16.
In this year marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, an unusual collaboration between one of America's top family retailers, scholars worldwide and religious leaders from across the spectrum has emerged to explore, share and pioneer discoveries around the world's most-translated, best-selling book.
"What better time than now to explore and experience this Book that has altered history, shaped cultures, inspired minds and changed lives?" said Green.
Passages is the non-sectarian exhibition of a portion of The Green Collection, one of the world's newest and largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts. The exhibition will travel first to the Green family's hometown of Oklahoma City for its world premiere at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, followed by a tour of cities and locations to be announced including a portion of the collection heading to St. Peter's Square in Vatican City in October.
"The opportunity to present such a vast and important collection of biblical artifacts is exceptional," said Glen Gentele, president and CEO, Oklahoma City Museum of Art. "The exhibition provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests to engage with these rare materials at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art."
Former Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles, Rep. James Lankford (R) of Oklahoma, Dr. David Whitlock, president of Oklahoma Baptist University, and representatives from the Oklahoma City Museum of Art attended the public preview in Washington, D.C.
Passages' 14,000-square-foot, interactive, non-sectarian, worldwide traveling exhibition will enable visitors to see, touch, feel and experience the dramatic and surprising story of thousands of years of Bible history. Included in the exhibition is one of the earliest pieces of Genesis, along with the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, one of the earliest-surviving, near-complete Bibles, and the most extensive early biblical texts in Jesus' household language of Palestinian Aramaic.
"The Bible didn't come from Mount Sinai to Moses and end up in a Red Roof Inn desk drawer," said Collection Director Scott Carroll, who holds a Ph.D. in ancient studies. "There was a process and Passages tells the dramatic story of that process."
Passages paves the way for a permanent, soon-to-be-selected site where visitors can interact, not only with The Green Collection, but also with visiting exhibits around the Bible. The permanent home will also house a research arm-the Green Scholars Initiative-which brings together the world's best and brightest minds to pioneer groundbreaking biblical discoveries through research and technology.
"The Green Collection provides casual visitors and scholars alike a one-of-a-kind opportunity to go behind the scenes of the most influential work that humankind has ever labored to capture, preserve, translate and study," continued Carroll.
The Green Collection is named for the Green family, founders and leaders of Hobby Lobby, the world's largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer. The massive collection that has "set dealers buzzing," according to The New York Times (June 11, 2010), was assembled at an aggressive pace beginning in November 2009. The speed was enabled by the work of Collection Director and Ancient/Medieval Manuscript Specialist Dr. Scott Carroll and the Green family's desire to make the story of the Bible accessible to people of all interests, as well as to scholars worldwide.
In addition to Oklahoma City, Passages will be on display:
St. Peter's Square, Vatican City-
A portion of Passages focusing on the Catholic contribution to the King James Bible, in this 400th anniversary year of the most-published, best-selling translation, will be on display.
New York (TBA)
Some items of The Green Collection are also presently on exhibition at museums and specialty libraries in the United States and across Europe, including Baylor University and Kent State University.