A $60 million (USD) museum run by the American Bible Society will be closing its doors after attendance numbers fell far below projections.

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center opened in Philadelphia in May 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, but attendance numbers never climbed once restrictions were lifted. 

Christianity Today reports that the Bible Society had projected attendance numbers to be around 250,000 people a year. "The revenue from ticket sales for the museum show a much lower number," CT reports, "maybe as low as 5,400 visitors in fiscal year 2022 (the museum’s program revenue was $54,000 and full-priced tickets cost $10)."

The museum had received a number of large donations from individuals as well as churches. The Museum of the Bible, founded by the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores, also lent items to the FLDC. CT reports that other items on display included notes from a sermon Billy Graham gave in the former Soviet Union in 1988 and copies of Bibles that Voice of the Martyrs smuggles into North Korea.

In an email obtained by Ministry Watch, ABS' new CEO Jennifer Holloran told staff, “The FLDC as conceived was a wonderfully innovative idea. That idea came with big possibilities and requirements to allow it to be functional in the long run. Unfortunately, despite the valiant efforts of our FLDC leadership and team, we have not been able to achieve the long-term sustainability that an experience like that needs to be successful.”

The museum will close on April 1.