Museum will host Saint John’s Bible exhibit

Joshua Kellogg
"The Birth of Christ" illumination is one of more than 160 illuminations in the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible that will be on display at the Farmington Museum in Gateway Park. The seven-volume collection will be on display at the museum from Tuesday through Saturday.

FARMINGTON — Visitors to a free exhibit next week at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park can view a copy of a 1,150-page handwritten and illuminated Bible.

A Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible will be on display at the museum Tuesday through Saturday, according to Bart Wilsey, the museum's director.

A total of 299 Heritage Editions of the book were produced based on the original, which is on display at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

Wilsey said the Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated — meaning the text is adorned with illustrations — Bible produced since the Middle Ages.

The Saint John’s Bible is comprised of seven volumes that each weigh between 13 and 20 pounds. They are each about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide when opened.

Each of the volumes focuses on a theme. Jeffery Richardson, the Farmington museum curator of exhibits, said the first volume, "Pentateuch," focuses on the first five books of the Bible.

He said visitors can turn the pages of the books to view the artistry.

The set is on loan to the Farmington Museum from the Cathedral of Saint John in Albuquerque. St. John's Episcopal Church in Farmington played a major role in the museum hosting the display.

Richardson said church officials were adamant about allowing as many residents as possible to see the Bible, which led the museum to host the exhibit.

A special presentation about the Bible will be provided at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday by Mark Goodman, dean of the Cathedral of Saint John in Albuquerque. On Thursday, Goodman will also give another presentation at 6 p.m.

The Farmington museum's exhibit will mark the longest time the cathedral has loaned out the set, Goodman said.

During his presentation, Goodman will discuss how the original Saint John’s Bible was developed, talking in detail about the process of handwriting and illuminating the Bible as well as the people involved in its creation.

"It’s beautiful," Goodman said. "It’s scripture and a work of art."

Goodman’s said his favorite illumination is the first one in the book of Genesis in which seven panels each display one day of creation, illustrating the creation of the sun, moon and stars.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

If you go

What: The Saint John's Bible exhibit

Where: Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St., Farmington

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Extended hours on Thursday until 8 p.m. Presentations at 11 a.m. daily and 6 p.m. Thursday.

Cost: Free

More info: Call 505-599-1174  or visit