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Enjoy a Fresh Look at These Museums

Museum of Contemporary Art


The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Toronto has been without a home since closing its final exhibition at its Queen Street location in August 2015. On May 26, MOCA will reopen to the public with nearly five times more space with a free-admission weekend filled with activities.

MOCA will occupy the first five floors, a total of 55,000 square feet, of the 10-story 1919 Tower Automotive Building. The ground floor is open to the public free of charge and will include an entrance lobby with interactive art pieces, a museum store, a cafe and space for public programming.

“We want people to come and dwell and spend time with us,” said November Paynter, MOCA’s director of programs.

The second and third floors are dedicated exhibition spaces. MOCA partnered with Akin to provide more than 20 affordable artist studios to local artists on the fourth floor, which will also have a larger studio space for additional programming. The fifth floor will house MOCA offices and event space.

Artists will likely host open studios at points throughout the year, and MOCA will be running various talks, workshops and screenings in its program spaces, both on the ground floor and on the studio level.

MOCA will open with “Believe,” its inaugural exhibition featuring 16 local, Canadian and international artists. Artists include Jeneen Frei Njootli, a Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation artist who taps traditional materials and techniques from her ancestry in her work. Los Angeles-based artist Barbara Kruger is working on a site-specific technological installation on the third floor. Artist Nep Sidhu from Toronto will be showing a number of new works and is creating an immersive performance piece for opening weekend, Paynter said.

Museum of the Bible

Washington, D.C.

The Museum of the Bible opened in November with much fanfare and sits just two blocks from the National Mall and three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The $500 million museum is the creation of Steve and Jackie Green, owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores, and the 430,000-square-foot building houses more than 3,000 artifacts from biblical times to modern day. About 2,000 of those items are on loan to the museum from more than 40 other institutions and collections, including the Israel Antiquities Authority.

While exploring various galleries on the museum’s six floors, guests will see fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a first-edition King James Bible and a page from the Gutenberg Bible, which marked the start of mass printing as the first major book to be printed using movable metal type.

Exhibits explore the Old and New Testaments, the Bible in America and the Bible around the world. In the Bible Now gallery, guests will see real-time, live-feed Bible-related data such as digital readership and breaking news in a 360-degree digital display. Visitors can learn about the context and culture of Jesus’ teaching in the “World of Jesus of Nazareth” exhibit.

In the Galilee Theater, groups can watch the conflict between Herod Antipas and John the Baptist, and in the New Testament Theater, early Christians tell about how Jesus’ followers became a new religious community.

Visitors can also shop in the museum store, explore the Biblical Gardens and dine at the Milk and Honey Café or the Manna Restaurant.