Knights of Columbus Museum: Tour

 

Founder's Way

Dramatic statues invite museum visitors to enter the Galleries. The center statue is of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. The other two are of St. Peter.

 

McGivney Gallery

This room of the museum offers a visual biography of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael J. McGivney. Many pictures and items depicting events in his life may be seen here.

 

In Sight of the New World

Peter Kohlbeck was a portrait painter in New York City during the latter half of the 1850’s. After that period he worked as a photographer. Three of his portraits are included in the collection of the New York Historical Society.

Kohlbeck took this composition from the original painting by the famous German historical painter Christian Ruben, created about 1840. It has been copied by countless artists over the years. Washington Irving used an engraving of the scene to illustrate his famous volumes on The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, published in 1892.

 

Reliquary

Contains the original burial vestments and other artifacts that were recovered when the founder was re-interred at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, in commemoration of the Knights of Columbus’ 100th anniversary.

 

Atrium

The massive main lobby welcomes visitors as they begin a dramatic journey through the history of the Knights of Columbus. The two-story atrium beckons guests to explore temporary exhibits in the upper lobby. Above the staircase hangs an ancient cross that was atop St. Peter’s Basilica for nearly 400 years.

 

Papal Room

A view of the papal tributes and memorabilia recalling meetings and correspondence with the popes who have served since the Knights of Columbus was founded.

 

Library Collection

Two books on Christopher Columbus from over 95 volumes contained in the George C. Shields Library Collection: Letters Written by Cristoforo Colombo, Vol. XVI, Milan, 1863 and The Columbiad, A Poem, by Joel Barlow, London, 1809. Gift of Massachusetts State Council through Supreme Knight John W. McDevitt.

 

War Effort

This portion of the Wall of History presents the Knights’ outstanding support for our troops during World War I. The trenches along the Western Front in France were particularly gruesome for young, homesick soldiers faced with the horror of mortal combat. Many K of C recreation centers were just behind the front. The sign over the entrance to each center read, "Everybody Welcome, Everything Free."

 

The Columbus Gallery

as the search for an American national Identity through early symbolism and many of the various celebrations and observances associated with Columbus handed down through the years.

 

Creature Comfort

Detail of the some of the "creature comfort" items on display in the Wall of History that were dispersed free of charge to the Allied troops in World War 1 at the Knights of Columbus recreation centers. The Order's "huts," as they were known, were a godsend, paid for by the Knights through donations.

 

The Wall of History

The Wall of History captures highlights of the close working relationship between the Vatican and the Knights of Columbus. Some defining commemorative pieces that reflect historic artistic undertakings include a model of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica (bottom); and models of the crucifix and triptych designed for the grotto chapel of SS. Cyril, Benedict and Methodius.