Luther Treasures from Germany Bound for U.S. Museums

Museums in New York, Minneapolis and Atlanta plan major exhibitions of objects and art related to Martin Luther and his ideas.

With the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses being commemorated throughout Germany in 2017, original artifacts and works of art related to Luther and the Reformation will be showcased in exhibitions at three U.S. museums starting in the fall of 2016. “Here I Stand…” – Luther Exhibitions USA 2016 will be presented under the auspices of the State Museum of Prehistory (Halle), with the support of the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exhibitions will showcase an unprecedented number of exhibits that will be on loan from the collections of the Luther House in Wittenberg, which is undergoing renovations in preparation for the Reformation’s anniversary. Other important objects will be contributed by the Luther Memorials Foundation in Saxony-Anhalt, Deutsches Historiches Museum in Berlin and Foundation Schloss Friedenstein Gotha as well as Halle’s State Museum of Prehistory.

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Pitts Theology Library (© Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University Atlanta).

The most comprehensive exhibition will be shown from October 30, 2016 to January 15, 2017, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, in the Lutheran heartland of the United States. An extraordinary range of exhibits – including archaeological finds, autographs, books, graphics, large-scale paintings and sculptures – will create a picture of the life and work of Martin Luther and the cultural-historical context of the Reformation.

The Morgan Library & Museum, in the heart of downtown Manhattan, plans an exhibition resembling a treasure chamber, to run from October 7, 2016 to January 22, 2017. A selection of rare prints, books and manuscripts, combined with works of fine art, will focus on events in Luther’s life that were particularly relevant for the beginning of the Reformation.

At Pitts Theology Library of Emory University in Atlanta, an exhibition on Lucas Cranach the Younger’s painting Law and Grace will take place from early October to mid-January 2017. The painting’s iconography explains the primary concern of Luther’s Reformation: the concept of salvation through the grace of God alone.

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Minneapolis Institute of Art (© Minneapolis Institute of Art, Nathan Haase).

A sumptuous publication will complete the exhibitions in image and word. Available in the fall of 2016, in both an English and a German version, it will emphasize the international nature of the “Here I Stand…” project.

Leadership and general management of the project lies with the State Museum of Prehistory (Halle). The ministry of cultural affairs of Saxony-Anhalt, the Free State of Thuringia, the Protestant Church in Central Germany and many other renowned cultural institutions in Central Germany, such as the Foundation Cathedrals and Castles in Saxony-Anhalt, the Gotha Research Library, and the Wartburg Foundation Eisenach, are also providing support.

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In addition to these traditional museum shows, the project also includes a forward-looking online component: #HereIstand allows institutions such as Goethe-Institutes, congregations, schools and universities to download a Luther-exhibition and to present it publically on their own premises. #HereIstand will be available online at www.here-i-stand.com as of October 2016 and will break new ground in the dissemination of exhibition content with the help of downloadable multimedia data. The user can download images and even 3D-scans of original exhibits for printing and presentation at their home institutions, depending on the space they have available.

You can download the flyer to the exhibition here

Additionally, a kick-off event will be held at the Goethe Center/German Cultural Center, Atlanta and Pitts Theology Library of Emory University in October, 2016. At that time #HereIstand and the globally downloadable exhibition (both images and 3D-printable objects) will be demonstrated for the first time.