Explore the International Reformation Museum

The International Reformation Museum (MIR) was inaugurated on 15 April 2005. It is housed in the Mallet House, an 18th-century residence that was once the cloister of Saint-Pierre. The museum is dedicated to a thought process that developed in the 16th century and marked the advent of a new era in Geneva's history: that of the Protestant Republic Calvin and Luther, the two instigators of this new way of looking at religion, wanted to encourage emancipation from episcopal lordship. The MIR will give you an overview of the history of Protestantism, from its origins to the present day. The museum highlights the foundations of the Reformation, its ideas, its vision of the world and humanity, as well as the stories of the men and women who identified with this religion.

Musée international de la Réforme sur la place Saint-Pierre à Genève, Suisse Roman Babakin

- © Roman Babakin / Shutterstock
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The International Reformation Museum is housed in a magnificent 18th-century mansion, the Mallet House, built on the site where the Reformation was adopted in Geneva in 1536.

The facade of the International Museum of the Reform.

- © Roman Babakin / Shutterstock

It boasts a collection of around 500 period objects including paintings, engravings, books, manuscripts, medals and photographs, as well as religious objects such as communion cups, watches and original models.

Audio guides are available to provide information on the exhibitions in French, German and English. Finally, special attention has been paid to children, with presentations adapted to their level in each room of the museum.

The museum's collections include more than 500 period objects.

- © Maykova Galina / Shutterstock

The treasures of the Museum of the Reformation

The Museum is organised into themed rooms covering different periods in the history of the Reformation: the Polemics, the Reformation in France and the Wars of Religion, Calvin and Geneva, the Reformation in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the Reformation in the 19th century, the "train des bonnes œuvres", the 20th century and the 21st century.

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The first room of the museum highlights the importance of the Bible in the 16th-century Reformation, with a display case devoted to Luther and his message, which had never been seen before at the time. The Reformers translated the Bible into everyday languages to make it accessible to everyone, taking advantage of the latest invention of the time: printing.

In 2012, a private collector loaned the museum an unpublished sixteenth-century manuscript by Luther, which has been added to this Luther showcase. The first room of the museum also features a portrait of Luther painted by Cranach the Elder.

Other treasures in the museum include:

  • Calvin's Bible: a Latin edition of the Bible published in 1560, considered to be one of John Calvin's most important works.
  • Calvin's pulpit: John Calvin's wooden pulpit in St Peter's Church in Geneva, where he preached.
  • The Geneva Psalter: a French edition of the Psalms published in 1562, which was one of the most popular books of the Reformation period.
  • Manuscript of the La Rochelle Confession of Faith: a document written in 1571 by the French Reformed at their assembly in La Rochelle, defining their faith and principles.
  • Mercator map: a two-dimensional map of the world, published in 1569 by the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator, which was influenced by the geographical discoveries of the Reformation period.

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Practical information

📍 Address: Musée international de la Réforme, Rue du Cloître 4, 1204 Genève, Switzerland.

🕒 Opening times: open every day except Monday, from 10am to 5pm. Closed on 24, 25, 31 December and 1 January.

🎟️ Admission: £11 for adults, £7 for students and senior citizens, free for under 18 years old.

🗣️ Guided tours: available in several languages (French, English, German, Italian). Booking recommended.

🛍️ Shopping: On-site gift shop selling books, jewellery, art and souvenirs relating to the Protestant Reformation.

For more information: https://www.musee-reforme.ch/?utm_source=easyvoyage

by Lena COLLINS
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