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Faith and Liberty Discovery Center goes out of business after three years

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center in Philadelphia has closed its doors. It had opened three years ago at a cost of about $60 million to showcase the impact of faith on American history.

Its owner, the American Bible Society, cited “structural limitations,” the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns and “other factors impacting sustainability” as the reasons for closing. The center struggled from the onset, receiving only around $54,000 in ticket sales for the tax year of July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, while reporting total expenses of around $11 million, according to a statement of revenue.

Jennifer Holloran, who recently became president and CEO of the society, said in a statement that “the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center has served as a place of exceptional learning and inspiration since its doors opened.”

“We look forward to reimagining what the future of content could look like through a publicly accessible, digitized format,” she said. “We’re tremendously grateful for our local Philadelphia partners, for those who have contributed to its vision and for the FLDC’s staff who have invested their hearts into serving every person who has walked through the doors.”

The center was located on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall and sought to educate people of all religious views about the impact of Christianity on American history. The museum held its grand opening ceremony in July of 2021, coinciding with the city’s annual Wawa Welcome America Festival, with the society proclaiming that “guests can explore 25,000 square feet of interactive gallery space featuring groundbreaking technology.”

“Their journey through the museum will be guided by a handheld smart lamp, which they can use to digitally capture favorite Bible verses, quotes and stories to revisit once they return home,” it said. “Each gallery offers a new immersive experience. In one gallery, guests will come face-to-face with 21 American changemakers whose lives and legacies were shaped by God’s word. In another, guests will be able to listen to a soundscape of songs and scripture read by American icons like Johnny Cash. And during a one-of-a-kind theater experience, guests will stroll through the streets of historic Philadelphia as they watch William Penn’s quest for religious freedom unfold.”

–Dwight Widaman


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