Shroud of Turin Exhibit at Museum of the Bible – Why You Should Visit

Shroud of Turin Exhibit at Museum of the Bible – Why You Should Visit

The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., will celebrate its fifth birthday on November 17. During the 2017 opening weekend, my husband and I toured the massive 430,000 square-foot museum. We were impressed by the gargantuan brick exterior, 40-foot tall bronze doors with Biblical inscriptions, and modern interior design. Moreover, there were interactive galleries, thoughtful and inspiring displays, and hundreds of artifacts that embodied the museum’s slogan: “Inviting all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible.”

But we noted one glaring omission: The Shroud of Turin was not referenced or pictured anywhere in this extraordinary museum dedicated to the world’s most influential book.

Our antennas were sparked since three months earlier, together with two Shroud experts, we had launched SignFromGod.org — a ministry with a mission to educate people about the Shroud of Turin. And what is the Shroud of Turin? The mysterious linen cloth measuring 14.6 ft by 3.5 ft is the world’s most studied artifact because millions of Christians around the globe believe that it is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus Christ.

But starting this weekend — nearly five years after the Museum of the Bible opened and four years from SignFromGod’s first conference call with chief curatorial officer Dr. Jeff Kloha  — is the exhibition “Mystery and Faith: The Shroud of Turin” that will run through July 31. Why should you see this exhibit? Here is Dr. Kloha’s answer:

“Throughout this high-tech, interactive exhibit, visitors will explore how this cloth connects to the Gospels and has become one of the most immediately recognizable images of any figure from the Bible. Though the Shroud itself does not leave Turin, it has been featured on magazine covers, in documentaries, and even in Hollywood films. This exhibition explores the fascination and faith inspired by this cloth.”

Further encouraging you to visit is the exhibition’s title words: “Mystery and Faith.”

Let’s start with “mystery,” reflecting how modern science has yet to determine the source of the cloth’s numerous unexplained properties. And for those who cast aside the Shroud as fake, the exhibition presents the history and scientific facts in state-of-the-art displays powered by the museum’s innovative technology. But if you are a skeptic, after touring the exhibit, there is a good chance that you will reevaluate your opinion or at least do more research. Please note that the museum does not take a stand on the cloth’s authenticity. Instead, the curators intentionally leave that centuries-old conundrum as an open question for you to ponder.

Chief among the mysteries is what caused the anatomically correct full-body, front-to-back detailed image of a naked crucified man to form on linen cloth with wounds mirroring specific, unique tortures inflicted upon Jesus as recorded in the Bible.

Other prominent and baffling cloth features include photographic-negative properties discovered in 1898 and 3D distance information revealed in the 1970s. There are also a wide array of substances found on the Shroud, such as rare, human Type AB blood that penetrates the cloth. However, the man’s image sits on top and does not penetrate the linen fibers. Pollen and dust have also been detected on the Shroud and traced to Jerusalem during the era of Christ. And there are many more unexplained phenomena. If you are not familiar with the Shroud, this exhibition will pique your interest because the more one knows, the more profound are the Shroud’s mysteries.

One of the Shroud experts who consulted on the exhibition is Dr. Cheryl White, a professor of history at Louisiana State University at Shreveport. When I asked Dr. White to address “mystery” in the exhibit title, she thoughtfully replied:

“Where mystery exists, there is always something at work that is beyond our human capacity. The Shroud of Turin exhibit at the Museum of the Bible issues an open invitation to contemplate such mystery on a profound level, but in an instructive and interactive way that engages both the heart and mind.”

Now let’s explore the word “faith” in the exhibition title. Brian Hyland, who curated the Shroud exhibition at Museum of the Bible, says:

 “Two papal quotes frame the exhibition, which reveals how the Shroud mirrors the Gospels,” Pope John Paul II called the Shroud a ‘mirror of the Gospel’ and Pope Benedict XVI called it an ‘icon,’ suggesting that it is ‘best viewed with the eyes of faith.’”

But one does not need faith to visit. And those without faith should consider why a prestigious museum in Washington D.C. is hosting an exhibition about what some think is a controversial medieval forgery. One answer is displayed on the museum’s web page about the exhibit:

“Few artifacts in the world have stirred imagination, provoked controversy, raised hypotheses — and for some, fortified faith — like the Shroud of Turin. “

Today, four years after the SignFromGod board presented our Shroud exhibition vision to Dr. Jeff Kloha — three Shroud expert speakers’ events later, and a one-year COVID delay — the exhibition is opening along with a potential world war. Could the Man of the Shroud provide faith, hope, and comfort? Perhaps. And is the timing just coincidental?

At the exhibition pre-opening event, I was especially encouraged by the last section called the “Reflect and Respond” room. On a big screen, there is a question often asked and associated with the Shroud of Turin: “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Visitors are encouraged to write their thoughts and display them for others to read. Here are a few:

“It [Shroud] shows Jesus is God!”

“I think that faith and science can coexist together and explain or provide an explanation for different phenomena like the Shroud.”

“The Shroud is a powerful reminder of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.”

“It [Shroud] reflects the extraordinary love Jesus has for His children.”

“The Shroud shows me Jesus’ love through his ultimate sacrifice.”

All those reasons are why you should visit the Museum of the Bible sometime between now and July 31.

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits who writes a Townhall.com Sunday Bible study. She is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org — a sponsor of the Museum of the Bible’s opening events for its exhibition about the Shroud of Turin, open Feb. 26 through July 31. Contact: [email protected] or Twitter @MyraKAdams.

Cross-posted at Townhall and Substack.

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams

Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign's creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign's ad council. Writing credits include, National Review, Washington Examiner, World Net Daily, Breitbart and many others. Contact Myra at [email protected]

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