Located in the Northern part of DC, Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is a $65 million museum. Its inauguration ceremony was ... More
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
Located in the Northern part of DC, Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is a $65 million museum. Its inauguration ceremony was attended by President George W. Bush as well as the Governor of Vatican City. The center ironically presents solemn spirituality and high-tech entertainment. It encourages visitors to explore faith and also assists them in addressing its challenges. There is an art museum, which features several art exhibits on a regular basis. Also involved in research, the center attracts half a million people a year. Record your 'testimony of faith,' on a computer, on paper or on videotape. Read ancient scriptures or research saints on the Internet. Or simply listen to papal speeches and hymns, which are available in 75 different languages.
I wanted to enjoy this facility so much more than I did. I visited with 2 friends; the one friend is devoted to Pope John Paul II. But none of us was "wow-ed" by the experience.
The building itself is impressive. The small display of the Pope's personal items was interesting but small. The chapel was nicely decorated with modern art images of the Stages of the Cross. There is a movie theater and many interactive displays.
The museum features temporary displays of art. There were two exhibits when we visited; First was a series of metal sculptures depicting OT Biblical stories. The individual stories were each contained within their own metal ring. The second exhibit was wood carvings done by artists from Palestine. Both exhibits were well done.
The main disappointment was the basement which contained "interactive" displays. More than half of the stations did not function. And the functioning ones did not always have a clear explanation of the purpose, what was to be learned, or how the display was connected to the Pope.
The museum is free, but suggests a $5 donation. I could not recommend this as a "must-see". But if you have several days in Washington and like art, the center is a nice side trip.
I wish I could give higher praise because the concept is excellent. Unfortunately, the poor execution soured the experience for us.
This center has so much to offer. Many people don't realize what a great place this is for teens AND tots! Yes, there is a toddler play center complete with church bells, stained glass activities, drawing table, movie viewing, and tubmling area with mini cathedral foamish building furniture.
Older kids and adults will enjoy the Cathedral bell ringing game (think hunchback and how to ring those bells on time, making your own stained glass story (saves to your media card and can be printed).
If you want to do serious study you can pursue that as well by using the Q&A terminals. Using the computers you can seek the answers to any number of questions from Church Fathers to why do Catholics do *that*?
And don't be surprised if you are moved to tears by the testimonials that are shown on monitors throughout the center. It's amazing to hear so many different stories about how people have found the Truth of Catholicism from soo many different backgrounds! Go ahead and leave your testimonial too by using one of the video booths!
It's a great adventure for the whole family!
A donation is requested, not required!
It is such a holy place for us to look back on a man of faith it now I think has more vaule becouse of Pope John Paul 2's overall inpack on the world and its people. I had the pleasure of vistting the center when it first open and I am sure it is as beutiful as it was then. Thanks and God bless
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