Museum of the Bible creates immersive experience with ETC

Date Posted: 10/9/2018

Museum of the Bible

Located two blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D. C., the Museum of the Bible invites all visitors to engage with the Bible. The museum documents the narrative, history and impact of the Bible in a 430,000 square-foot space that once was the Terminal Refrigerating and Warehousing Co. building. Now that the new space is complete, ETC solutions are lighting up its theatre.

Aiming to be one of the most technologically advanced museums in the world, the Museum of the Bible wanted to create a highly immersive experience in the 472-seat World Stage Theater. The theatre is located on the fifth floor of the building, and is designed to evoke an ancient tent flapping in the wind.

The curves in the walls and ceiling are just one part of what makes any performance in the World Stage Theater captivating. High-output projectors and angle-compensating software create seamless digital images across all surfaces in the space, making guests feel like they are in one massive environment.

Flawless aesthetics and exceptional technology were top priorities for the Museum of the Bible when designing the space.

“From the beginning, they knew they wanted to do all LED lighting, but were also hesitant because of the challenges with dimming in LEDs,” says WHOCO Lighting and Controls Owner Josh Allen, formerly of TCC.

It was critical that the architectural luminaires did not interfere with the visuals from the projectors. Ultimately, the venue selected GDS by ETC ArcSystem Pro One-Cell fixtures, painted with a custom powder coat to match the ceilings.

“We’ve specified GDS by ETC on many different projects,” says Curtis Kasefang, Principal Consultant of TCC. “The luminaires are highly functional, while also prioritizing the aesthetic quality of the light and its dimming.”


TCC demoed the fixtures for the architects and engineers on the project. Once they saw the feature sets and flexibility of the luminaires, they also got on board.

With the ArcSystem Pro One-Cell luminaires, the Museum of the Bible could adjust fixtures with the curves in the ceiling. After installation, the theatre was able to achieve even coverage.

Another benefit of using the Pro One-Cell fixtures is their ability to serve as emergency fixtures. This dual functionality means that the Museum of the Bible could meet emergency code without having to procure separate luminaires.

“Glare was also a big topic of discussion,” says Allen. “One of the key selling points was how minimal the glare is in the ArcSystem fixtures. Because there’s a lot of undulation in the ceiling design, we needed a fixture that had a reflector cone to minimize the glare. GDS solutions have done that beautifully from day one.”

The Museum of the Bible is also using ETC’s Paradigm control system in the World Stage Theater to control the ArcSystem fixtures. This makes lighting adjustments simple for the museum’s staff.

“In the end, we need to meet the needs of both the end user of the system and the patrons who will experience the lighting,” says Allen. “With ArcSystem, we were able to exceed expectations on both fronts in the Museum of the Bible.”

Photos by Alex Fradkin