Religion in Museums

When museums and religion collide

A Huguenot museum for Rochester, Kent

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ImageThere are dozens of Huguenot museums in France – see Now there’s going to be one in England, to join the handful of Protestant museums. (How many can you think of? I’ve only got to five…). The French Hospital, a Huguenot almshouse in Rochester, Kent, has bought the former TIC in the High Street, landed a £1.2m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and is currently advertising for a director.

According to the website the displays on the first floor will be divided into three themes:

  • The Persecution – The dramatic story of persecution, intolerance, secrecy and flight told through noise and audio drama and the artefacts held by the French Hospital.
  • The Refugees – Discover the Huguenots’ impressive ability for self-help and support, including through churches, societies, schools, charities and the French Hospital. Objects from the French Hospital, individuals and institutions will illustrate the skills that the Huguenots brought to England, including crafts, military leadership, education and science.
  • British Huguenots Today. Find your own Huguenot descendants and discover what it means to claim Huguenot heritage today. There will also be a small display area for changing exhibitions that are developed with community groups and individuals.

It will be really interesting to see how ideas and services develop. Will they try, like the International Museum of the Reformation in Geneva, to use a combination of modern technology and historic items to explain their faith and practice?




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