The town of Mansfield, Ohio, lies about halfway between Cleveland, on Lake Erie, and the state capital Columbus in the center of the state. The city is known for hosting the Miss Ohio pageant and as the birthplace of Luke Perry of Beverly Hills, 90210—and as the location of BibleWalk, purportedly Ohio’s only life-size wax museum.
The full name of BibleWalk is the Living Bible Museum. It has been in operation since 1983 and welcomes 40,000 curious visitors through its doors annually. The purpose of the museum is to illustrate scenes from the Bible with wax figures in dioramas, much like exhibits at the Museum of Natural History.
The museum features more than 300 figures, many of them reclaimed after having been discarded from other museums—which means that there are more than a few celebrities and famous people in the mix. When the figures “true” identities shine through the Biblical costumes, it can make for an odd experience.
Among the Hollywood movie stars you might spot in the museum are Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor, John Travolta, Steve McQueen, and two figures from British royalty: Prince Philip and Prince Charles.
Julia Mott-Hardin, the director of BibleWalk, will not admit patrons if she thinks they only want to see the celebrities in this odd context: “I’ve had calls from people who wanted to take the tour, but only if I accompanied them pointing out the celebrities. I refused. The museum is about glorifying God and his work.”
Some of the figures have not been identified (if they indeed are celebrities). Feel free to guess—is that one Al Pacino? Margot Kidder? Do you spot Gloria Steinem in there?
Tom Cruise as Jesus Christ
Elizabeth Taylor, looking startled
George Harrison as God
Not the easiest to identify, but this monarch was originally John Travolta
Prince Charles as Abel, brother of Cain
Prince Philip as an angel
That’s Steve McQueen in the background, staring at Jesus