The International Museum of the Reformation opened on the 15th of April 2005. It presents the history of Protestantism from its beginnings. It gives us an international viewpoint, including both religious and cultural aspects.
Special attention is paid to the foundation of the Reformation Movement, the ideas it inspired, together with its conception of the world and mankind; it also describes the lives of the men and women who contributed towards it. The Museum can be found on the ground floor and in part of the basement of the Maison Mallet, an XVIIIth century dwelling, built on the foundations of St. Peter’s Cloister, where the Reform was voted in 1536.
This is a museum where the past is intertwined with the present
There are about 500 authentic objects to be seen in the Museum: pictures, engravings, books, manuscripts, medals, photos and other objects such as communion chalices, watches or small scale models. An audio guide informs the visitor of key exhibits in French, German and English. Texts accompanying the exhibits are also in three languages. Even children can find something of interest here as in each room there is a presentation of the main theme at their level. Handicapped people can also have full access to the whole Museum.
The Museum rooms are arranged according to themes and chronology: the Bible, Polemics, the Big Room, the Barbier-Muller Room (the Reformation in France and the Wars of Religion) Calvin and Geneva, the Music Room, the Reformation in the XVIIth and XVIIIth century (the Banquet of Predestination), the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (the ‘Refuge’” and the ‘Desert’), the Reformation in the XIXth century, the ‘Train of Good Works’, the XIXth century once more (the Religious Awakening and modern theology), the XXth century and lastly, the XXIst century.
The first room in the Museum explains to the visitor that the Bible was the very basis of the Reformation in the XVIth century. There is a special showcase for Martin Luther and his particular contribution. To enable ordinary people to understand the Bible, considered as the Word of God, the Reformers translated it into the vernacular and printing, the latest invention at that time, contributed greatly to making it accessible to all.
In 2012, a private collector donated an exceptional gift to the Museum of the Reformation: this was an original manuscript written by Martin Luther ‘D.M.LUTHER TO A GOOD FRIEND’, dating back to the XVIth century and it can be found in the showcase which is dedicated to him.
In this manuscript Luther attacked one of his most bitter enemies with vigour: “Up until now this was an unpublished manuscript and people will be delighted to discover the strong personality of this mighty reformer – it’s as if he had just written it a moment ago” says Isabelle Graesslé, the Director of the Museum in a cheerful tone. In the first room of the Museum a portrait can also be found of Luther painted by Cranach the Elder and his School: this is an oil painting on wood dating back to 1530, on loan for several months from a private collection.
The International Museum of the Reformation also presents cultural activities to suit every taste
There is a multi-media library containing many videos, recordings of lectures etc. which are aimed at enriching your knowledge and also to help you to have a better understanding of the Reformation and of those who established it, amongst other subjects.
To promote cultural exchange there are activities for everyone: lectures, a marked trail, workshops for young people and active discovery visits and other temporary workshops from time to time in the ‘activities’ section.
For teachers, there are visits at an all-inclusive price specially designed for their needs as well as pre-prepared informative leaflets in the ‘school’ section.
Musée international de la Réforme
4 rue du Cloître
of the Reformation (Geneva)
Rue du Cloître 2, 1204 Genève, Suisse
- Site du Musée international de la Réforme | Link
- Albert Schweitzer's House in Gunsbach
- Museum of the Cevenol Valleys
- Musée du protestantisme de Ferrières
- Jeanne d'Albret Museum, the history of Protestantism in Béarn
- The protestant Museum in the Wassy barn