Monday, July 5, 2010

St. Paul's Cathedral and Library

I'm excited that St. Paul's Cathedral was our first class tour because it really set the tone for the course! I loved that we were able to visit the Library and see something rare- something that most people never get to see. I don't have any experience with rare collections or archives, but the tour today has definitely peaked my interest.

A few things I learned about St. Paul's
~ In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. preached there before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize
~ In 2001, St. Paul's was the gathering place of Londoners who mourned 9/11
~ In 2002, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the Golden Jubilee at St. Paul's

Currently, St. Paul's has an exhibition organized by ALMA (Angola London Mozambique Association) and it is part of the 2010 City of London festival. The exhibit contains 3 very unique works of art- 'The Pianist', 'The Bird of Peace', and 'The Music Man'. All three are made entirely of de-commissioned weapons. This project was begun by Bishop Dinis Sengulane. He believed that the quantity of privately owned weapons was the biggest threat to the future peace of Southern Mozambique. In 1992, he, along with the Christian Council of Mozambique and Christian Aid, encouraged people to exchange their weapons for useful products like ploughs, gardening tools, sewing-machines, and bicycles. Now, there are have been a reported 700,000 weapons that have been turned in because of this project. Their new focus for 2010 is 'Weapons for Water', which allows communities to receive wells as compensation for their weapons.

Last, but not least, St. Paul's Library tour! First was the Trophy/Model Room. This room holds Sir Christopher Wren's "First Model" of St. Paul's. His first idea was rejected because the model resembled St. Peter's in Rome. The model was breathtaking. It filled the entire room. The next stop was the Library. The room had the same structure as the Trophy room, which holds the "First Model". Joe Wisdom (my first and favorite tour guide!) stated that the Trophy room was most likely created to be a library. The Library was amazing! I would love to be a part of working with a special collection, especially something as rare as St. Paul's Cathedral Library collections!

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