The story of the Magna Carta is the story of the struggle for liberty. In this special exhibition, the role of the Bible and the English Church in that struggle will be traced from the creation of the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century to the present day. The Bible has much to say about rulers and ruling justly, such as Isaiah 10:1, “Woe unto those who make unjust laws,” or Psalm 2:10–11, “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Verses like these and others show the Bible’s position on justice, and have been discussed and debated time and again over the centuries by both rulers and the ruled.
The exhibition begins in the early twelfth century in England, exploring the medieval world, the context of the creation of the Magna Carta, and the personalities involved. The second part of the exhibition takes us to the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, where the notion of the Magna Carta took on new meaning in the struggle against British rule. The exhibition ends with an examination of the Magna Carta around the world in the modern age, from the UN Declaration of Human Rights to the impeachment of Bill Clinton and beyond.
On display inside the exhibition will be the revision of the Magna Carta issued in 1217. This rare artifact is one of only four of its kind still surviving and was the first to be called “Magna Carta.” The exhibition will also feature interactive displays and a new film starring award-winning actor Andy Serkis that outlines the history of Magna Carta and its impact on the world.
July 2, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Included with Admission
Museum of the Bible has partnered with London-based cultural and arts firm Hawkwood International to bring the original 1217 Magna Carta and 1215 King’s Writ from Hereford Cathedral to Washington.