The New Room in Bristol – also known as John Wesley’s Chapel – has been chosen as one of the new homes for an historically important collection of artefacts that have been in storage since the closure of their previous site, the Wesley College, in 2010.
The College – based latterly in Henbury, Bristol – housed one of the most comprehensive theological libraries in the country, as well as an extensive archive that included many unique documents and artefacts from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Many of these related to the Wesley family, and it is part of this collection which is being relocated to the state-of-the-art museum at the New Room.
The Methodist Church’s director of engagement, Jo Hibbard, has worked closely with the Wesley College Artefacts Group to advise the church council on where the items should be rehoused.
Jo Hibbard said: “The New Room’s fabulous museum – part of their new multi-million pound Heritage Lottery-funded visitor centre – will be the ideal place for these treasured objects to be exhibited.
“Pieces included in the first delivery include personal items such as a fragment of John Wesley’s coverlet, a razor belonging to one of Methodism great theologians, John Fletcher, and the cobbler’s tools of Methodist preacher Samuel Bradburn.”
These items are currently available to view by appointment only. Interested parties should contact Kate Rogers, collections manager at the New Room at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Rogers, collections manager at the New Room, said: ‘We are so delighted to add these precious artefacts to our collection.
“They form an important part of our history and we are very much looking forward to the stories we can share, and the interest they will generate, when they are put on display.
“Visitors love people stories, and it is personal items such as these which can really capture their imaginations.”
The museum – which has 12 interactive rooms — is on the first floor of the New Room’s visitor centre. The centre also features a café, a dedicated education space and venue hire facilities.
Since it opened in May 2017 the museum has attracted visitors from across the world, many of whom have been surprised to learn about John Wesley’s public campaign against slavery and fight for social justice at a time when Bristol was still a major centre for the slave trade.
Entrance to the museum costs £6 for adults and £3 for children, with a variety of concession and group rates.