The Wycliffe Discovery Center, which highlights decades of Bible translation work around the world, has been recognized as one of the top five religious museums in the United States by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for 2020.
“We’re passionate about celebrating cultures, educating people about language groups and highlighting the need to continue this important (of Bible translation) work until all people have access to Scripture in the language they know best,” John Chesnut, president and CEO of Wycliffe USA, said in a statement.
The center, which opened in Orlando, Florida, in 2002, came in fifth. The awards were based on the input of a panel of subject-matter experts and a public voting period.
The center regularly hosts youth events to “reach students outside normal school hours, and guests can schedule tours led by active missionaries who can offer first-hand insights into the displays,” Wycliffe USA said in the statement.
USA Today readers were asked to make their choice based on the stories, collections, and message at 20 U.S. museums, each dedicated to sharing the history, culture, art, and traditions of the world’s diverse religious groups and faith communities. The religious museum category included the country’s best Jewish museums, religious art collections, heritage centers, and other sites, from 14 states and the District of Columbia.
The center “tells the story of the Bible from an interesting perspective, its translation and distribution to cultures around the globe. Visitors learn what goes into translating scripture and hear talks from missionaries and linguists involved in the work,” USA Today said.
“Whether you’re 5 or 75 years old, you’ll enjoy learning about people, languages and cultures all over the world. You’ll also come face to face with the staggering number of people who are still waiting for a single word of the Bible in their own language,” the center says on its website. “Hear amazing stories of how lives are being changed as God’s Word is made accessible to those who still need it, and find out how you can be a part of what God is doing all around the world through Bible translation.”
The Ark Encounter biblical theme park with a life-sized Noah's Ark replica, and its sister institution, the Creation Museum, finished No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the awards.
“Both attractions have made Northern Kentucky the leading faith-based destination in America,” the two winners said in a statement.
“We are so grateful to USA Today for considering our internationally recognized attractions in its contest,” said Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham, who is also the CEO and founder of the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum.
“By the way, one could make the argument that USA Today should have included the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in its list. While most people would not consider the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. to be a religious museum, it, too, promotes a worldview: atheism,” he added. “You see, there are no ‘non-religious’ positions for such museums. Each has a worldview to proclaim. The Ark and Creation Museum are, of course, religious museums in that they promote a theistic Christian worldview.”
The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., came in third in the awards.