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Best Religious Museum: Readers vote Ark Encounter

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This winning museum invites guests aboard a replica of Noah's Ark

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the stories and collections at these museums, each dedicated to sharing the history, culture, art or traditions of some of the world’s diverse religious groups and faith communities. These include the country's best Jewish museums, religious art collections, heritage centers and more.

  • Ark Encounter

    Ark Encounter
    Williamstown, Ky.

    This museum sits within a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, based on dimensions given in the Bible. Inside, exhibits highlight one of the most famous stories in Christianity by showing what life might have been like for Noah and his family.
    Photo courtesy of Ark Encounter

  • Creation Museum

    Creation Museum
    Petersburg, Ky.

    The 75,000-square-foot Creation Museum takes visitors on a journey through Biblical history, from Adam and Eve's encounter with the serpent in the Garden of Eden through to the modern day discovery of Lucy and its implications for the discussion of evolution and creationism. 
    Photo courtesy of Creation Museum

  • Museum of the Bible

    Museum of the Bible
    Washington, DC

    The Bible is one of the most read books on the planet, and visitors of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome to learn more about its history and impact in DC's new Museum of the Bible. The permanent collection includes art and artifacts from a variety of cultures and time periods.
    Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

  • The International Museum of Muslim Cultures

    The International Museum of Muslim Cultures
    Jackson, Miss.

    Those unfamiliar with Muslim culture can get an introduction at the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Mississippi. Exhibits tell the stories of Muslim majority societies, like Moorish Spain and Timbuktu, while rotating exhibitions highlight art, photography and history from the Muslim world.
    Photo courtesy of The International Museum of Muslim Cultures

  • Wycliffe Discovery Center

    Wycliffe Discovery Center
    Orlando

    The Wycliffe Discovery Center in Orlando 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.
    Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Discovery Center

  • Biblical History Center

    Biblical History Center
    LaGrange, Ga.

    This archeological museum in Georgia explores daily life in Biblical times through artifacts, replicas and interactive experiences. Highlights include the Biblical Life Artifacts Gallery, home to some 250 artifacts on loan from the National Treasures of Israel, as well as an Archaeological Replica Garden with recreated structures from Biblical times.
    Photo courtesy of Biblical History Center

  • The Billy Graham Library

    The Billy Graham Library
    Charlotte, N.C.

    The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte tells the story of America’s most famous evangelist through a series of engaging exhibits. See key moments in his ministry, from the tent revivals of the 1940s to his work with American presidents, and tour the home where Graham lived as a child.
    Photo courtesy of The Billy Graham Library

  • National Museum of American Jewish History

    National Museum of American Jewish History
    Philadelphia

    This museum on Independence Mall in Philadelphia seeks to “preserve, explore and celebrate the history of Jews in America” by connecting the Jewish community to its heritage and introducing visitors of other faiths and backgrounds to the American Jewish experience. Highlights include a model of the Touro Synagogue, an antique Yiddish typewriter and a teddy bear once owned by Helga Weiss.
    Photo courtesy of National Museum of American Jewish History

  • Oregon Jewish Museum

    Oregon Jewish Museum
    Portland, Ore.

    The Oregon Jewish Museum is the only Jewish museum in the Pacific Northwest, and it serves as a repository for materials for the entire region. The collection has grown swiftly and includes interesting items such as Jewish head coverings, silverwork and photographs. A research library and extensive oral history collection are also available to the public.
    Photo courtesy of Oregon Jewish Museum

  • Saint John Paul II National Shrine

    Saint John Paul II National Shrine
    Washington, DC

    This shrine and museum in Washington, DC recounts the life and spiritual journey of Karol Wojtyla, the Polish man who would become Pope John Paul II. The museum includes photos, videos and papal relics, as well as a church and chapel filled with stunning mosaic work.
    Photo courtesy of Saint John Paul II National Shrine

  • Ark Encounter
  • Creation Museum
  • Museum of the Bible
  • The International Museum of Muslim Cultures
  • Wycliffe Discovery Center
  • Biblical History Center
  • The Billy Graham Library
  • National Museum of American Jewish History
  • Oregon Jewish Museum
  • Saint John Paul II National Shrine

The top 10 winners in the category Best Religious Museum are as follows:

  1. Ark Encounter - Williamstown, Ky.
  2. Creation Museum - Petersburg, Ky.
  3. Museum of the Bible - Washington, DC
  4. The International Museum of Muslim Cultures - Jackson, Miss.
  5. Wycliffe Discovery Center - Orlando
  6. Biblical History Center - LaGrange, Ga.
  7. The Billy Graham Library - Charlotte, N.C.
  8. National Museum of American Jewish History - Philadelphia
  9. Oregon Jewish Museum - Portland, Ore.
  10. Saint John Paul II National Shrine - Washington, DC

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning religious museums!

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