Collections | Posted 04.10.2016

Thomas More travels 5800 miles to Washington DC

A major new exhibition has just opened in Washington DC featuring over fifty artefacts from the collections of Stonyhurst College.  The exhibition tells the story of St Thomas More’s life and legacy through an amazing series of objects, dating from the 12th to the 21st centuries.

The College’s rich collections of English Catholic historical artefacts are among the most important in the world. It dates its first acquisition to 1609, making it the oldest museum in the English speaking world. Many of the beautiful and extraordinary objects in this Thomas More exhibition were smuggled out of England in the 17th century to the College, which began its existence in northern France in 1593.

The exhibition features medieval embroideries and illuminated manuscripts, including pieces which belonged to Henry VII, Katherine of Aragon and Elizabeth of York, Henry VIII’s mother. It displays two gold crucifixes owned by Thomas More, and his hat, embroidered by one of his daughters. The College’s rare First Folio of Shakespeare is also on display – the first time it has left Britain. Shakespeare’s play Richard III is based heavily on Thomas More’s biography of Richard.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst, and runs until March 31st 2017. On their return, these objects, and many others, will be displayed in a new museum currently being planned and installed at Stonyhurst.