You may have heard of the Green family’s impressive Bible collective. David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby and business man from Oklahoma City is building the Museum of the Bible, which will open next year in Washington, D.C. The eight story tall 430,000 square foot building will rest just a stone’s throw from the National Mall.
The Green family has collected 40,000 objects, an impressive amount especially considering they began curating just six years ago. Originally, the family partnered with Scott Carroll who has a doctorate in ancients studies and Johnny Shipman who The Atlantic described as “an eccentric Dallas businessman who walked around town in a full-length fur coat, carried a firearm, and, as a Baptist, felt called to build something greater than himself: a national Bible museum.” With the Greens financially backing Shipman’s idea in collaboration with Carroll’s experience, they embarked on a successful venture.
“Soon they were making acquisitions all over the world, and in 2010, they decided—as Steve Green delicately put it to us—to ‘take more ownership of the project.’ Shipman was out; Dallas was left behind,” The Atlantic wrote.
They have now collected “one of the world’s largest private collections of biblical artifacts.” Because of the rate of acquisition, many are concerned about how the family acquired their collection and “the issue of provenance – the record of how an artifact was discovered.”
Looting artifacts and trafficking antiquities has become a “valuable source of revenue” for ISIS. “If an item can be shown to have been removed from its country of origin before 1970, collectors can generally be secure that its purchase is legal,” added The Atlantic.
There have been items curated by the Greens of questionable provenance, to which the Greens give vague, but diplomatic answers for. But Steve Green sticks to his motto which is, “We aren’t collectors, we’re storytellers.” They are in the business of inviting people to engage with the story of the Bible and bring God’s story to life through the museum’s experience.
The Atlantic wrote, “Hobby Lobby brings in a yearly revenue of roughly $3.7 billion.” But Hobby Lobby is more than a business for the Greens, it is a vehicle to enable ministry and share the Bible with others.
David Green’s son Steve Green shared about their success, “God’s given us the ability to be very successful in our business and I think to some degree it’s providential. We want to share this book with people all over the world. And the more resources we have, the more we’re able to do that.”