This next post talks about what are technically two separate museum spaces but are located in the same place. They tell a similar story but in two distinct ways:
John Wesley’s House and the Museum of Methodism
If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that I adore a good house museum. Wesley’s house is a member of the London SHH (Small Historic House). I have been attempting to visit them all.
For conservation reasons (protecting the collection) I was unable to photograph inside the actual house. They have a lot of original objects of Wesley’s including clothing, paintings, travelling trunk and furniture. Off of his bedroom was a small room where he prayed and developed most of the methodist doctrine. The little room is called the ‘Powerhouse of Methodism’ and was a real treat to see.
FYI To get into the house you must request a tour from one of their lovely volunteers. It’s quite nice to have someone to ask questions of on the spot.
The Museum of Methodism is in the basement of the Church. It provides a nice introduction into the sect. Originally it was just meant to be a part of the Anglican Church though it later splintered. John Wesley and his brother Charles were the main founders and were ordained as Anglican priests.
John was responsible for much of the doctrine and would travel 10 months out of the year. He even made it all the way to the USA. Charles wrote and sang thousands of hymns and psalms which remain at the heart of Methodism.
Interestingly, the museum’s floor is gravestones! It took me a few minutes to get used to but it adds real ambience to the displays.
The displays are all really high quality with a lot of information – though not an overwhelming amount. I know so much more about Methodism now than I ever did. The only truly awkward moment is when I confessed that I was not a methodist – to the dismay of my tour guide.
In the Garden there is a small elm which is a branch of the famous one John Wesley preached under. He was well known for doing outdoor preaching to large crowds.
Side note: across the street from the Museum/ House/ Church is Bunhill Fields graveyard where John and Charles’ mother is buried. Along with the famous artist William Blake!
Pros: two free museums, two different sides of a story, nicely restored house, helpful volunteers, great collection, nice displays, small shop
Cons: the house tour is very dependent on the guide – quality may vary, very much about methodism & religion, the house would be difficult for those with mobility issues, not the best for kids