The Mirror of the Martyrs
On Display Until January 21, 2018
The Mirror of the Martyrs is an exhibit inspired by the discovery in 1975 of thirty copper plates used in the printing of the 1685 edition of the Martyrs Mirror edited by Thieleman van Braght. This second edition included illustrations by the Mennonite artist Jan Luyken. Seven of the plates, thought to have been lost in World War II, were brought to the United States by Amos Hoover, Denver, Pennsylvania. In 1989 the remaining 23 plates were obtained by Robert Kreider, Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, and John Oyer, Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, and placed in the possession of the Martyrs Mirror Trust. In 2011 another plate was discovered and made available to the Trust.
In 1989 the construction of an exhibit based on the new acquisition of plates was begun. The exhibit was designed as a traveling exhibit, modular in design with self-contained lighting. It features eight copper plates with additional images produced from the 1685 edition, four editions of the Martyrs Mirror (1660, 1685, 1748 and 1780) and various other artifacts that illustrate the times in which the events of the Martyrs Mirror took place. Added to the exhibit, are stories of contemporary martyrs and prisoners of conscience. The exhibit opened at the Kauffman Museum in 1990 after which it began a journey that has taken it across North America. The exhibit has been on display in 68 locations in at least twenty two states and five Canadian provinces.
A 10-page Youth Study Guide is available and encouraged for schools or youth groups who come tour the exhibit. Please call in advance to schedule a tour! Study Guides are also available prior to bringing your students to the exhibit but must be requested no later than one week prior to your scheduled visit.
The exhibit is not just for Mennonites, it is a testimony to principle and conviction, ideals and beliefs. This exhibit offers a welcome change from the insatiable quest for sensationalism in society today. The martyrs depicted in this exhibit are people strong in principle and loyal to a higher power who were willing to sacrifice their lives for this loyalty. The display emphasizes dialogue. Questions are woven into the text for visitors to read, stimulating thought about such questions as: Is the teaching of love one’s enemy practical counsel? Why do good people torture and kill good people? What beliefs are worth dying for? These questions are as important today as they were when the Martyrs Mirror was created! More Christians have died for their beliefs in the 20th century than any other century in history. The Anabaptist martyrs have a universal story with a contemporary message.
The internationally-touring Mirror of the Martyrs traveling exhibit will be on display at the for 9 weeks. This exhibit is sponsored by Martyrs Mirror Trust, Kauffman Museum of North Newton, Kansas and Mennonite Historical Library of Goshen, Indiana. This exhibit was displayed at the in 1996 and drew record crowds.
We are expecting many tours for this exhibit so please call in advance for groups of 5 or more! Tours/groups welcome by appointment, call 620.846.2527 for information or to set up a tour. Business hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9am-12pm and 1pm-4:30pm, and on Sundays from 1:30pm-4:30pm. We are closed on Mondays and all major holidays including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Years Day so staff may spend time with their families. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help pay for this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime exhibit!