Sitting in a coffee shop with Craig Thompson of Disciple Design in May of 2017, I found myself overwhelmed at the prospect of introducing a new name and logo for our museum. The Museum of Biblical History occupies over twenty years of history as well as an incredible legacy built through the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices of our founders. Not only that, practically speaking, changing the name of the museum would be quite the chore. New signage, a new website, new print collateral, and new social media channels would all be required if an effective brand transition were to take place. Surely, there were more pressing areas that would require my focus and energy. For weeks, I had been dreaming of how we could expand our existing museum experience, how we could continue to grow to be a valued resource in the community, and how we could be passionate proponents of Bible literacy. Branding seemed to be a secondary initiative, at best. Besides, in my first month of leadership, would I actually entertain making such a significant shift?
I was presented with a dozen new museum names for consideration. The list of possibilities ranged from straight ahead approaches (“Bible History Museum”) to those more outside the box (“Bible Discovery Center”). An array of twenty different logos that could serve as the museum’s mark moving forward was also laid out before me. These marks ranged from modern in their expression to more classical looks. Some were hand drawn with great detail, while others were created using computer software. The graphic designers had obviously poured much thought and creativity into this project – they also seemed to be taken by the possibilities of what the museum could be.
Previously, Disciple Design had sat down with me and allowed me to share vision for the museum with them. I painted a picture of a place where the narrative of the Bible comes to life, a place where families, churches and schools are strengthened in their understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the Bible, a place where the message of the Bible gains relevance to modern American life. They were inspired and, now, so was I. I began to be drawn to the impact that a well designed, carefully thought out brand could make in our community.
Why the Change?
Museum of Biblical History is a very proper sounding name that has a high degree of regality associated with it as well as a name that oozes a sense of higher learning. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the name. In fact, in more than one sense, it’s a name that has served the museum well for several years.
There is one glaring problem, however: Few seem to know, recognize or use the name Museum of Biblical History.
As I began to meet our Board of Directors, our neighbors on Main Street Collierville, and various people across the community I began to note that the vast majority of people referred to our institution as simply “the Bible Museum”. I even witnessed the same phenomenon among our staff, hearing them at various times answer the phone “Good afternoon, Bible museum…” One day at lunch, I gave a pop quiz to a local leader who has long served as a champion of the museum’s mission – I asked this leader a seemingly easy question: What is the name of our institution? After a moment of consideration, my friend raised an eyebrow and queried, “Museum of B-b-iblical History?”
I also began to discover that while there are many who are great supporters of the museum, there are also many who, for various reasons, have never been to the museum or, in several instances, had never even heard of the museum. We seemed to have a brand recognition problem. I recognized that we were in the midst of an interesting time in the history of the museum and that it was necessary for us to reintroduce ourselves to the community. As I researched and learned about brand recognition, I came to the conclusion that a new name and logo would be a strong way to express the fresh vision that we have for the museum. I proposed this to our Board of Directors in June of 2017 and, after healthy dialogue and discussion, they enthusiastically agreed and unanimously voted to move forward with the development of a new brand.
A Statement of Who We Are
As I stared at the incredible set of logos and names that were presented to me, I was awestruck. The brands expressed our passion so well and the options that were given to me for my consideration were inspiring. There were several names and marks that immediately stood out from the rest. I decided to take those options and begin to share them with trusted advisors, museum staff and Board Members as a way of soliciting their opinions. As the feedback rolled in, there was one name and one mark that rose to the top of the list time and time again. We are excited and proud to present this new name and new mark to the public!
The name Bible Museum on the Square is elegant in its simplicity in that it expresses concisely both who we are and where we are located. We are passionate about the Scriptures – it is why we exist. The unique approach that we take to articulate our passion is by highlighting the scholarly and archaeological evidence that verifies the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Holy Word of God. All of this on the town square that has been voted as America’s finest Main Street by Parade Magazine.
The logo also makes a statement about who we are and where we are located. The stylized “M” for museum is, of course, well represented. Much more than that, however, the mark communicates the centrality of the Scriptures as it pertains to our mission and vision: The outline of the tablets representing the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament blends seamlessly with an ichthus representing Christ and the New Testament. Purple was chosen as our primary color to evoke a sense of royalty that calls to mind the authority of God’s Word. Finally, this updated look is contained in the cozy confines of a square.
We are grateful for the legacy of the Museum of Biblical History and now look forward to building the future as Bible Museum on the Square. Thank you for your support and partnership through the years. We are eager to serve the community in the days ahead!