January 25, 2021

Press Release

Museum of the Bible Announces Reopening with New Items on Display from its Recent Acquisition of the Ohlhausen-Tenny Collection

Collection features extensive compilation of English-language Catholic Bibles

WASHINGTON – After a month-long DC-wide mandatory closure of museums and restaurants, Museum of the Bible will reopen to the public Friday, January 29, at 10 a.m. EST. To mark the re-opening, Museum of the Bible will feature two items from its latest acquisition of the Ohlhausen-Tenny Collection: The Carey Bible (1790) in the Bible in America exhibit and a copy of the Bishops’-Reims New Testament (1601) on the History Floor. Named after Sidney Ohlhausen, who created the collection, and Michael Tenny, who donated it to the museum, the collection consists of almost 3,500 objects, and features an extensive collection of English-language Catholic Bibles, religious historical materials and theological studies.

“Museum of the Bible is eager to welcome back visitors for an immersive experience with the Bible and its ongoing impact on the world around us,” said Museum of the Bible CEO Harry Hargrave. “The safety of visitors and staff is Museum of the Bible's top priority, and comprehensive COVID-19 safety procedures are in place following all CDC guidelines.”

The museum will also be operating under new hours: Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 9 a.m. early entry for museum members (except on Sunday).

The Ohlhausen-Tenny Bible collection was purchased intact in April of 2015 from Sidney Ohlhausen. Mr. Ohlhausen was an active collector, scholar and binder of fine Bibles and had been actively enhancing his extensive collection for 40 years.

“I am delighted to see this collection on display and online at Museum of the Bible,” said Sidney Ohlhausen. “To my knowledge, this is the largest collection of English-language Catholic Bibles in the world, including 200 American editions recorded nowhere else. It is my hope that this donation will draw attention to the rich history of Catholicism in America.”

“My family and I were honored to donate the collection to Museum of the Bible with the ultimate goal of allowing the public to interact with the Bible both online and in-person,” said Michael Tenny.

Collection highlights include:

Carey Bible (1790)

Printed by Carey, Stewart, and Co.

First edition of the first Catholic Bible printed in America                                                  

Clementine Vulgate (1592)

Typographia Apostolica Vatacania

First printing of the Clementine Vulgate, which was used until 1979

Wycliffe New Testament (1731)

Thomas Mount and William Parker

First printed edition of Wycliffe’s English translation of the New Testament                                   

Louvain Vulgate (1547)

Bartholomew Van Grave

Important Catholic Reformation Bible that anticipated the Clementine Vulgate                                                 

Missale Romanvm (1572)

Printed by Christopher Plaintin

Important Catholic Reformation text providing liturgical instructions and texts                                                

Reims-Bishops New Testament (1589)

Printed by Robert Barker

William Fulke’s refutation of the Reims New Testament in parallel columns with the Bishops’ Bible                                                    

Reims New Testament (1582)

Printed by John Fogny

First edition of the translation that would be the basis for nearly every Catholic Bible in English for four centuries

“We are grateful to be recipients of this unique collection of Catholic Bibles, theological works, and research material,” said Museum of the Bible’s Senior Curator Anthony Schmidt. “We are looking forward to museum visitors and researchers engaging with the Ohlhausen-Tenny Collection for years to come.”

Some of the most notable items can be seen on the museum’s collection page. The rest will be fully cataloged and will be either displayed or made available for research at the museum.