Biblical Arts Museum Reopens Doors Friday

It’s been five years in the remaking, but the Museum of Biblical Art–the collection formerly known as the Biblical Arts Center–will host a ribbon cutting this Friday for its new building. The original building was destroyed in a 2005 fire that damaged and destroyed nearly all of its artwork. Miracle at Pentecost, Torger Thompson’s 124-foot long mural for which the nonprofit that runs the museum is named, was the first thing to catch fire and was completely destroyed.

Co-director and curator Scott Peck said the museum, the only of its kind in the country, had to start from scratch. The exterior walls, which were the one thing the fire left undamaged, were reused, but the interior was gutted.  Out of the 2,500 pieces of art that were in the museum, Peck estimates that 2 percent have been restored.

That said, Peck is optimistic about the fresh start. The most obvious change is the golden ziggurat atop the building, which is based on the biblical pyramids of Ur in modern-day Iraq. A room dedicated to the restoration of art damaged in the fire has glass windows so visitors can watch conservators at work. And the museum had added several new galleries devoted to African American and Hispanic religious art, Jewish art, religious architecture, and biblical archaeology which, with a recent surge in interest, is “going gangbusters,” Peck said.  Before the fire, the Miracle at Pentecost painting was the focal point of the museum, Peck said. Now, it has several.

Despite the changes, Peck said the museum’s mission is the same it’s always been–to show biblically themed art, regardless of denominational, religious, or cultural origen.

Following Friday’s 11 a.m. ribbon cutting, the museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is, as always, free.

And speaking of new beginnings, the museum hosts weddings in its banquet hall. It’s already been booked for every Saturday through the end of 2010.

By Eric Nicholson Mar. 31, 2010 | 1:27 pm | 4 Comments | Comments RSS
  • diane hol

    i was privileged to see the mirace of pentecost painting. is there a photograph of it and will it be reproduced?

  • Steven Fleming

    The museum sold fairly good-sized prints of the “Miracle of Pentecost” which should still be available by contacting them directly. I have one signed by Torger Thompson framed in my home and it is a treasure.

  • Geraint ap Iorwerth

    Just found out now, due to a recent dream prompting, about the fire. I had the privilege during summer 1970 of visiting the Miracle as a guest of Mattie Byrd and was presented with a copy of the painting during a private visit to her home. An unforgettable day-out in Dallas and a great lady. Fond
    meories. ap
    Rev’d Geraint ap Iorwerth nr Cardiff Wales UK

  • Terry Viegas

    I had the tremendous privilege of knowing Torg personally. I visited him at his home in Mountainberg, Ark. I had my Confirmation class take a field trip to see the painting. My teens each wrote Torg a letter telling him how touched they were by it. He called me when he received the letters and said he was coming to see my class. The next day he drove from Arkansas to Dallas and visited all our classes at Christ the King School. We became his good friends afterwards. I would love to find a framed picture of the painting. I do have an original oil done by Torg, just for me. I will treasure it always! Thank you Torg for the memories of your greatness and your love for God.