While Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery remains closed, the Museum & Gallery collection continues its mission of “transforming lives through fine art” with over 114 items on loan to museums around world.
Erin Jones, executive director of the Museum & Gallery, said the M&G seeks to expose audiences at home in Greenville and around the world to the gallery’s extensive collection of religious paintings, sculptures, furniture and artifacts. “We do that with the intention to touch the whole person: mind, heart and soul,” Jones said.
Jones said the goal of the Museum & Gallery collection is to inspire change and ultimately to share the Gospel. “Of course, we want them to recognize the quality and beauty of the collection, but we also are trying to touch them—to have them change in some way because they interacted with the collection and with our staff,” Jones said.
Jones said the Museum & Gallery’s collection typically engages the mind first, as visitors seek information or education. She said that a guest’s realization of the underlying historical and contemporary significance of the art often provides a way to touch hearts as well as minds.
“And if the Lord allows, because we have a good, warm relationship with them, many times we are able to share the Gospel and have an opportunity to really touch their souls,” Jones said.
The BJU Museum & Gallery is currently loaning pieces to three exhibits in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. This includes 32 antiquities loaned to the “Stories of the Bible” exhibit, two paintings and a sculpture loaned to the “Impact of the Bible” exhibit and 64 paintings loaned to “Picture Books of the Past: Reading an Old Master Painting.”
Jones said that art historically served as “Scripture for the common man” during times when most people were illiterate, therefore making such works critical parts of Christian history as well as means to aid visually interpreting the Bible today.
The M&G proposed this idea to the Museum of the Bible, and it formed the basis of the current exhibit, “Picture Books of the Past.”
Two other museums near BJU have various paintings from the M&G collection. The Georgia Museum of Art displays seven M&G paintings as a part of their “Drama and Devotion in Baroque Rome” exhibit. The Richardson Family Art Museum at Wofford College also has seven paintings for their “From Botticelli to Tintoretto: Italian Renaissance Art from the Tobey and Bob Jones Collections” exhibit.
M&G paintings have even made their way to Italy, Germany, England, Japan, France and Canada.
Pieces of the Museum & Gallery collection can also be found at various locations around campus, including the Benjamin West collection in War Memorial Chapel and the interactive Martin Luther exhibition in the lobby of the Fine Arts building.