A new exhibit at Candler’s Pitts Theology Library opens December 11, focusing on John Wesley’s founding of the Methodist tradition and its history in America. “Religion of the Heart: John Wesley and the Legacy of Methodism in America” runs through March 9, 2018, and is open during library hours. Guided tours will be held on Fridays at 1:00 p.m. on January 12, January 26, February 9, February 23, and March 9. Sign up for a tour. 

Curated by Pitts Archivist Brandon Wason, the exhibit draws upon the library’s extensive Wesleyana holdings to examine Methodism’s rise and development in England, and its establishment and history in the early days of the United States. This includes materials connected to John and Charles Wesley’s childhood home, their time at Oxford University, their sojourns to the then-colony of Georgia, and their religious experiences of 1738. The exhibit also explores how preaching, hymns, and organizational structures of Methodism played a role in the movement’s success.

Pieces reflecting major periods and topics of American Methodism are on display as well, exploring issues of church government, race, slavery, and gender. “As The United Methodist Church celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, this exhibit provides a context not only for looking back at the previous 50 years, but to three centuries’ worth of history that contributed to what the denomination is today,” Wason says. He also notes that because this is the first exhibit related to Methodism to be displayed in the library’s exhibit gallery that opened in 2014, many of the featured materials are being shown for the first time.

The exhibit celebrates the legacy of philanthropist Margaret A. Pitts, lifetime trustee of the William I.H. and Lula E. Pitts Foundation, whose resources have been integral in the acquisition of many items in the Pitts Wesleyana collection.

Register for an exhibit tour:

For more information, contact Reference Librarian and Outreach Coordinator Rebekah Bedard, at rebekah.bedard@emory.edu.