Ohio’s BibleWalk Museum is Made Up Of Discarded Celebrity Wax Figures

Aug 14, 2015 10 comments

Ohio’s only life-size wax museum, BibleWalk, is located in the city of Mansfield. A tribute to Christianity, the museum has more than 300 figures displayed in 70 religious scenes that tell the stories of the Bible and the life of Jesus. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that some of the Biblical characters bear a striking resemblance to Hollywood stars and other famous people. King Solomon looks like John Travolta, while the lady standing nearby has the face of Elizabeth Taylor. In one corner, standing solemnly in an all-white gown is a young-looking Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. In another scene, the figure of Jesus Christ with flowing hair and full beard is unmistakably Tom Cruise.


Tom Cruise as Jesus in BibleWalk Museum, Ohio. Photo credit: Union Features

This isn’t a bizarre coincidence. All these figures were actually made to represent the stars they look like. They were built to be displayed at several celebrity museums, such as Madame Tussauds, but later discarded before they were acquired by BibleWalk for cheap. The members of the nondenominational Diamond Hill Cathedral, who built the museum, sewed new costumes for the figures, created the backgrounds, made the props and hired a hairdresser from Columbus to fix their hair. The repurposed figures were then placed in various Biblical scenes, and with some strategic lighting, they hoped nobody would be able to tell. Except, they were wrong.

The museum is reluctant to widely publicize the museum's repurposed famous figures, and still tries to keep the origins of the waxworks a closely-guarded secret. The director of the museum Julia Mott-Hardin, who has been working at the museum since its founding, even refuses to give tours to those who want to see the celebrities. She said: "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 works. That's what we want to achieve. I just don't want to take any of the glory away from God. That's the most important aspect of BibleWalk, God's glory."


The figures in the Last Supper scene were obtained from a Madame Tussauds museum in Arkansas. Photo credit: Union Features

The idea for the museum occurred to Pastor Richard Diamond and his wife, Alwilda, in the early 1970’s when they were visiting a historical wax museum with figures of past presidents, generals, and war heroes. The last scene, to their surprise, was the Ascension of Jesus Christ. As they stood mesmerized before the scene, something urged in his heart to build a museum that would glorify the great works of God.

Ten years later, Pastor Richard Diamond began to search for figures but soon realized that new wax or fiberglass figures were prohibitively costly. So he started looking for used figures. The first set of figures were actually donated by another Bible Walk museum in Pennsylvania that was closing. With these figures the pastor started the museum in 1983. Additional figures were gradually acquired from various celebrity wax museum and added to BibleWalk. These include, apart from those already mentioned, figures of Clark Gable, Steve McQueen, George Harrison of The Beatles,  Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster, to name a few.

Today, the museum is visited by 30,000 to 40,000 people from around the world each year. It’s hard to tell how many of them come to experience the Holy Bible, and how many just for the fun of picking out celebrities in the crowd scenes.


Photo credit


Photo credit: Union Features


John Travolta as King Solomon. Photo credit: Union Features


Elizabeth Taylor. Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


A young Prince Philip acting as an angel. Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Prince Philip again, this time as Abel. Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Steve McQueen as a bystander in the back.


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features


Photo credit: Union Features

Sources: Roadside America / Biblewalk.us / Telegraph

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