Thomas Jefferson’s Bible Coming to Denver’s History Colorado Center

Friday, March 08 2013 17:49   Museums
Thomas Jefferson's Bible, a rare national treasure and a unique story of conservation, is coming to Denver, Colo., thanks to a partnership between History Colorado and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The new History Colorado Center will host "Jefferson's Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," from March 22 to May 27, 2013. This special limited-engagement viewing offers an intimate window into Jefferson's religious philosophy and extraordinary mind.

interior_jeffersons_bibleVisitors will also explore the story behind the intensive effort undertaken by Smithsonian conservators to preserve this fragile, yet remarkable, piece of American history.

"Making this historic treasure publicly accessible was a key goal behind its conservation, and we are so pleased to lend it to History Colorado, a Smithsonian Affiliate, so we can share it with History Colorado Center audiences in Denver," said Harry Rubenstein, curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

"The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," created by Thomas Jefferson in 1820, is an 84-page assemblage of passages from the first four books of the New Testament, according to the Smithsonian.

It was the work of Jefferson's own hands and a product of his extraordinary mind. It was a personal exercise in understanding Jesus's moral teachings. The resulting work represented a meeting of Enlightenment thought and Christian tradition as imagined by Jefferson, one of the great thinkers of the Revolutionary Era.

The book remained privately held throughout his life. Its existence was only known to a few of his closest circle of friends. The book remained in his family until his great-granddaughter sold the volume to the Smithsonian Institution in 1895.

Over the years, the book's condition became so fragile that it could no longer be safely handled or displayed. In 2011 the Museum completed a complex and challenging conservation project, which has made it possible to present the newly restored volume to scholars and the general public.

Officials for History Colorado Center said the display will be a unique treat for Denver residents and visitors.

"Given the specialized light, temperature and humidity controls required, this is a prime example of the capabilities the new History Colorado Center provides when objects of such importance are put in our trust," said Ed Nichols, President & CEO of History Colorado.

jefferson_portraitFunding to bring Jefferson's Bible to the History Colorado Center was provided by the Grant family, the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank, Monticello Associates, Inc. and contributions to the Make History Colorado! capital campaign.

"As we approach the first anniversary of the opening of the History Colorado Center, it's fitting to host such a significant national story and a wonderful opportunity to spark greater interest and engagement in history," said Dr. William J. Convery, History Colorado State Historian.

History Colorado connects people to the stories, places and heritage of Colorado's past that provide perspectives on today and inspire our choices for tomorrow.

Through exhibits, collections, educational experiences, and archaeology and historic preservation programs throughout the state, History Colorado brings history to life for audiences of all ages.

History Colorado is a Smithsonian Affiliate. For more information, visit the Web site at .


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