THE CHRISTIAN MUSEUM 1757-2007

THE CHRISTIAN MUSEUM 1757-2007  

The Christian Museum was instituted in 1756-1757 by Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) as part of the collections of the Vatican Library. The purpose was to gather together various objects added to the papal collections during the first half of the 1700s. The Museum housed mainly ancient paleochristian objects of small dimensions (coins, medals, jewels, cameos, etched glass, gilded glass, ivory, enamel, inscriptions, seals, lamps, bronze and silver) displayed in glass cases and magnificent walnut wood wardrobes built especially for them by the best artisans of the time. Over the years some of the smaller and more precious objects went missing. In 1999 Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) had the Christian Museum entrusted to the Vatican Museums which began a thorough review of the collection and the restoration of many works. The collection today is exhibited in new displays, modernly organised according to the origin of the objects. The stamps for this occasion display a gilded glass depicting Saints Peter and Paul and a silver vase, and a bronze lamp with a monogram of Christ and a small silver bottle.