A permanent gallery for The Saint John’s Bible opens to the public on Friday, Oct. 6, at Saint John’s University’s Alcuin Library. The gallery has 1,653 square feet of floor space and is located in the lower level of the library and exhibits original folios from the seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible.
“The Saint John’s Bible has traveled the world on exhibition and inspired people of all cultures and creeds since 2005,” said Saint John’s University President Michael Hemesath. “Now, The Saint John’s Bible comes home to a spectacular gallery where its spirit and beauty will continue to reach out to new audiences through themed exhibitions and creative programming.”
To visit the gallery, visitors will enter through the main doors of Alcuin Library and descend to the gallery’s entrance on the lower level. There, they can interact with a full-sized, high-definition version of The Saint John’s Bible that allows guests to electronically turn the pages of the entire Bible and explore details, videos and content behind each page.
“The gallery can accommodate up to 50 people at a time and is designed to give guests a sacred experience,” said Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible. “Guests enter the gallery through beautiful ebonized oak doors handcrafted at Saint John’s Abbey Woodshop that feature a honeycomb design mirroring the great window in the Saint John’s Abbey and University Church. As the Bible remains unbound at this time, the folios are displayed on special mounts designed to make the unbound folios look like opened books. Light levels will be low to maintain conservation standards and allow the folios to be the focal points of the space.”
The gallery places The Saint John’s Bible in the historical context of the manuscript by including selections from the rare books, manuscript and art collections of Saint John’s University and its Hill Museum & Manuscript Library.
“Exhibition themes will vary throughout the year and will rotate approximately every four months,” Terres said. “The opening exhibition will feature a sampling of folios from each volume of The Saint John’s Bible.
“Future exhibitions will feature folios from one volume at a time, and will explore a common theme such as hospitality or women in scripture, or exhibitions that showcase the variety of hand-lettered scripts in the Bible. Themes will be advertised on HMML’s and The Saint John’s Bible social media and websites,” he said.
Guided tours are available for individuals or groups and are handicapped accessible. Guests should plan for approximately 30-60 minutes for a self-guided tour and 90-120 minutes for a guided tour or formal presentation. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Other times may be available; check the website, or call 320-363-3514 for further information.
Guided tours and group presentations are available but need to be arranged in advance by contacting Ternes by email or by phone at 320-363-3351. There is no cost to view the Bible in the gallery. A donation of $5 per person is suggested for guided tours and presentations.