Geneva's International Museum of the Reformation Celebrates the 500th Anniversary of John Calvin's Birth

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The International Museum of the Reformation (IMR), Geneva, Switzerland, announces an exceptional temporary exhibition and series of events in honor of the Jubilee Year of John Calvin, one of the founding fathers of the Reformation. The IMR, which opened in 2005 and was the recipient of the 2007 Council of Europe Museum Prize, will 'reintroduce' John Calvin to visitors from around the world with an exhibition entitled: 'A Day in the Life of John Calvin,' which will run April 24-Oct. 31, 2009. The museum's world-class 3-D exhibit falls during 2009, the 'Year of Faith Tourism,' designated by the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) as a year set aside for the promotion of and participation in travel by people of faith. One-third of visitors to the museum are from abroad, chiefly from France and the United States.

Isabelle Graessle, Director, International Museum of the Reformation

John Calvin's influence can still be felt in the world today. During a much harder period, Calvin clearly paved the way to the future democratization of society through education, widening self-consciousness and spreading his new ideas.

The year 2009 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin (1509-2009), one of the founding fathers of the Reformation, and the International Museum of the Reformation (IMR), Geneva, Switzerland, announces an exceptional temporary exhibition and series of events in honor of his contributions.

The IMR, which opened in 2005 and was the recipient of the 2007 Council of Europe Museum Prize, will "reintroduce" John Calvin to visitors from around the world with an exhibition entitled: 'A Day in the Life of John Calvin,' which will run April 24-Oct. 31, 2009.

Isabelle Graessle, Director of the International Museum of the Reformation and a leading expert on John Calvin, is thrilled to announce this special event: "John Calvin's influence can still be felt in the world today. During a much harder period, Calvin clearly paved the way to the future democratization of society through education, widening self-consciousness and spreading his new ideas."

A Unique 3-D Exhibition
Visitors will have the opportunity to follow a day in the reformer's life in three dimensions. This innovative exhibit features virtual representations of Calvin's Reformation-era world. 3-D simulations of Calvin in his familiar surroundings and activities will help foster a better understanding of his life and actions, in the manner of a documentary film. Surrounded by historically accurate sets, the 3-D animated figure of Calvin 'speaks' directly to visitors using simulation technologies developed by MIRALab laboratory at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Several 16th century engravings, objects and books will also be featured in the exhibition.

The museum's world-class exhibit falls during 2009, the 'Year of Faith Tourism,' designated by the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) as a year set aside for the promotion of and participation in travel by people of faith. One-third of visitors to the museum are from abroad, chiefly from France and the United States.

Additional Information:
Isabelle Graesslé, Director of the International Museum of the Reformation, has been the first female moderator of the Pastors Company, founded in 1541 with John Calvin as its first moderator, in almost 500 years. Since 2005, she has been the Director of the International Museum of the Reformation.

Isabelle Graesslé is available for phone or e-mail interviews.
Media Contact:
Christine Moore
Phone: 469-688-5683
Email: christine (at) epiphanymedianet (dot) com

Downloadable photographs are available at the museum's website under 'Press.'

The International Museum of the Reformation: a forum for free speech
The International Museum of the Reformation's goal is to present the history of the Reformation, the religious movement started by Martin Luther in 1517 and pursed by Calvin in Geneva in 1536, in a lively and engaging manner. It also provides a forum to encourage dialogue among different faiths and Christian traditions: a place in which to discuss the role of religion in the contemporary world from a cultural perspective.

The IMR is located in the heart of Geneva's old town, in a beautiful 18th-century style mansion, the Maison Mallet. State-of-the-art technology is seamlessly integrated into the classical, grand structure. An underground passage connects the IMR to the archaeological site under Saint-Pierre Cathedral. The 'Espace Saint-Pierre,' comprising these two museums and the visit of the Cathedral Towers, represents one of Geneva's latest cultural and tourist attractions.

Museum Facts
-A prestigious location in the Maison Mallet, 4 rue du Cloître, 1204 Geneva.
-Close to 500m2 on two levels, ground floor and basement.
-3 for 1: the "Espace Saint-Pierre" is comprised of the IMR, Saint-Pierre Cathedral and its towers, and the archaeological site, which is connected to the IMR by an underground passageway.
-14 rooms, including the café and entrance.
-About 350 original objects on display: paintings, engravings, books, manuscripts, medals and other artifacts, such as communion chalices, Huguenot crosses and Pentecost crosses.
-Many objects from the 16th and 17th centuries.
-Over 100 rare books, engravings and coins from the time of the Wars of Religion in France (latter half of the 16th century) donated by the art collector Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller.
-5 audiovisual displays, including a general presentation of the Reformation, a film on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, a film on the history of the Waldensians of the Piedmont, a dialogue on predestination and a film on Protestantism in the 20th century.
-6 faiths united through music: Protestant music, including Huguenot psalms, a hymn from Madagascar, chorales by Bach, and 19th-century hymns (the music room), as well as liturgical music from all the great world religions: Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism (last room in the Museum).
-1 shop offering a selection of books and gifts relating to Geneva and the Reformation.
-From Mai 2008: a course for children named 'The heads of Calvin' and educational kits on a completely renewed website.
-Museography, Etat des Lieux : Sylvia Krenz and René Schmid.
-The museum cost CHF 4.1 million to build, all of which was provided by private donations. The lead donor was Banque Pictet et Cie, which chose to commemorate its bicentennial in 2005 through a large gift to the museum. The museum receives no public subsidies.
-The management and maintenance of the Museum are supported by annual contributions from corporations and private individuals. The fundraising committee is currently responsible for meeting the annual budget of CHF 1 million.
-25,000 visitors per year from all over the world.
-Around two-thirds of visitors are from Switzerland and one-third from abroad, especially France and the USA.

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