Friday, 22 April 2016

The Museum of the Order of St. John

Here's the opening of my latest "Garry's Soapbox" article for SC Exhibitions, a feature about The Museum of the Order of St. John in London...

St John's Gate © Nathan Wilcock
There's only a brief soapbox this month, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to point readers to one of London's little-known museum gems: The Museum of the Order of St. John.

In Jerusalem during the crusades, both men and women, known as Knights Hospitallers and then as the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, cared for the sick, particularly pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. This small, but beautifully presented museum tells their story – from the Order's founding in medieval times to their international work today through the first aid charity St John Ambulance, and the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital.

The exhibition – which was entirely revamped in 2009 – is presented in chronological order. From Jerusalem, the knights moved to Cyprus, then to Rhodes and Malta, and today have their main headquarters in Rome. The exhibition reflects this movement, so that as you travel around its display space – complete with informative videos and panels – you follow their journey. Throughout, there are artefacts from these different phases, from suits of armour, paintings, manuscripts and swords, to a full size cannon, and models of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, brought back from the Holy Land as souvenirs.

You can read the full article here: The Museum of the Order of St. John.