Over at Unfair Park, Jim Schutze reports that Scott Carroll, a history professor at the interdenominational Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Don Shipman, the son of a Cleburne pastor, have been busily buying up millions and millions of dollars’ worth of rare Bibles and manuscripts for a planned museum in Dallas — not to mention acquiring some 22 acres in downtown Dallas.
The plans are ambitious, even gargantuan — as Cornerstone University’s newspaper, The Herald indicated two years ago:
Warren Van Kampen, retired optometrist and friend of Carroll, said that “nothing has been tried on this scope.” Van Kampen’s brother originally had a dream similar to Carroll’s, but it was in the form of a private collection. Currently, the Van Kampen Collection is the largest private collection of artifacts and manuscripts related to the Bible.
“We are in the final stages of acquiring a 900,000 square foot facility that sits on 22 acres in downtown Dallas,” said Carroll. The building will cost $300 million and is being paid for by a family that Carroll is working with, whose name he declined to disclose.
“There will be 20 halls, each half the size of a football field,” said Carroll. Each hall will contain artifacts and illustrations of the preservation of the Bible during a different period of history. Carroll said a donor is willing to build exact replicas of as many ancient monuments as the museum wants.
For comparison’s sake, the Dallas Museum of Art is only 350,000-square feet. And note the last lines about “replicas of ancient monuments.” There’s something about the Bible that can bring out the Cecil B. DeMille in people. Dallas’ Biblical Arts Center has been rebuilding from a devastating 2005 fire, for instance – and current plans include a Damascus Gate and a Golden Ziggurat.