Located in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum of the Divine Statues gives restoration to religious art that has fallen into distress. Taken from defunct churches or decommissioned parishes that are being torn down. The museum saves and repairs stained glass, paintings, and iconic status and allows these works to be a renewed blessing in the hearts of the faithful. 

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The detail work on these statues is exquisite. Hard to believe these statues were so distressed when they arrived. 

I grew up Southern Baptists. While I had family members who were Roman Catholic, my time inside of a Catholic church was limited. One thing I was always fascinated by (and honestly a bit creeped out by) were the statues. In a Baptist church, they just didn’t exist. But as I grew older I began to understand their significance to a practicing Catholic. There is something serene about a lot of them although I still on rare occasion still get a little spooked. I just keep thinking to myself “Please don’t move”  I mean sometimes they seem so lifelike.

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The adult PC side of me knows that St. Mary had  Palestinian features, not northern European.  But the child non-analytical side of my brain can appreciate the beauty of not only the artist’s work but also the ideal representation. 
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Saint Joan of Arc may be my favorite of the restored statues. I always found her an interesting figure.  The artist did an impressive job of capturing her passion. 
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Michael the Archangel. The fierce protector of the oppressed. The archetype of righteous force.
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The building was fittingly a former St. Hedwig’s Church and the figures and other artwork are beautifully and respectfully displayed. 
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While the main emphasis of the museum is ecclesiastical statues, they also restore stained glass windows and other relics.  
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Most of the restored art is from Catholic churches, but the museum also has taken in work from Protestant denominations such as Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches.  I love the color of this window, it is very peaceful.
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The museum and restoration work is a real labor of love for the museum’s founder and chief artist Lou McClung. The museum is a non-profit organization and while it only covers a couple of rooms, but like every good art museum you can spend hours just admiring the detail work. The artist studio is located behind the former organ loft and is open to visitors. 
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To help defray the cost of the restoration work and operating a museum, the center offers statue sponsorship.  You can honor a statue in memory of a loved one. The statue comes with a plaque that will be permanently displayed with the artwork. 
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Some of the works that come into the museum are damaged beyond the ability to restore but most are able to be repaired. The most common damage is smudge and smoke from incense and candles.  
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“The Holy Family”
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The museum offers QR codes that you can scan with your phone that offer the history of the artwork and also the history of the church and diocese where the work originated.  
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a collection of Nun dolls each wearing the habit of the nun’s particular order. 
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The chapel area. 
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The museum also has an outdoor memorial garden. Even as a former Baptist, I always admired Saint Francis of Assisi. If I had to pick a “favorite Saint” it would be him or maybe Saint Cecilia (the patron saint of music)

The museum has limited hours (Noon to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday only) and the admission is $14.00. Since it is a non-profit and does such terrific work, I think it is worth it. It brings me solace knowing these statues and Windows that were created with such Love and devotion are being resurrected to bless again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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