Thursday, November 10, 2011

St. Paul Shrine/Cathedral Re-Opens Museum with new exhibit:

Cathedral Re-Opens Museum with new exhibit:

The Archbishop and the Architect

The public is invited to a grand re-opening of the Cathedral Museum, Sunday, Nov. 20th from 2-4 p.m. The museum is located in the lower level of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, 239 Selby Ave., at the corner of Summit Ave. and John Ireland Blvd.

The exhibit, titled “The Archbishop and the Architect,” features personal artifacts belonging to Archbishop John Ireland and the architect for the Cathedral, Emmanuel Masqueray. The two men were said to have become great friends not long after their initial meeting at the 1904 Louisiana Exposition, informally known as the St. Louis World’s Fair.

It was the vision of Masqueray's architecture for the Exposition that impressed Ireland and ultimately convinced him to hire the Frenchman to design the Cathedral of Saint Paul in the beaux arts-style.

Monsignor George Ryan later described the two men in his book, Historical Sketch of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, 1904-1937:

How many hours they dreamed and planned… These two soared on the wings of enthusiasm, and Masqueray, throwing aside halting English, broke into French until he had the Archbishop equally fluent and eloquent in it. Hands were going like a Dutch windmill.”

A few of the treasured artifacts from both the archbishop and the architect on loan for this special exhibit have never before been available to the public:

· Archbishop John Ireland’s death mask (on loan from Archdiocese Archives)

· Two of the 49 personal scrapbooks Ireland kept over his lifetime on loan from the Archives of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (Archdiocese Archives)

· Original drawings by E.M. Masqueray and one of his paintings (on loan from R.J. Seagren, the great-grandson of Frank Abrahamson, one of Masqueray’s architects)

· A collection of original photos of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition buildings designed by E.M. Masqueray. You can see the similarities in a few features of the buildings in St. Louis and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. (R.J. Seagren)

· Other relics of early missionary work including a saddle used by Fr. Felix Tissot at the turn of the century as he covered territory in Goodhue and Wabasha counties (Archdiocese Archives).

After the re-opening, the museum will have daily open hours. Watch the website for details. The Cathedral Museum is located on the Lower Level of the Cathedral of Saint and can be reached by the elevator on the left of the vestibule or the stairway on the right.

Cathedral Hours: The Cathedral doors are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit or call the Welcome Center at 651-228-1766.

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