Berman Museum of Art Presents Pastors & Patriots The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania

. September 2, 2011 . 0 Comments

A landmark exhibition at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College is one of many events associated with the 300th anniversary of the birth of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg on Sept. 6, 2011. Pastors & Patriots: The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania will open Aug. 20 and will run through Dec. 18 in the Upper Gallery. An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday Sept. 25, 2 to 4 p.m.

Pastors & Patriots is being curated by Lisa Minardi, a Muhlenberg historian and assistant curator at Winterthur Museum, Ursinus Class of 2004. Minardi was a History and Museum Studies double major at Ursinus, and curated several exhibitions while she was a student. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg was the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America and progenitor of one of the most influential Pennsylvania German families in history.

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, 1711-1787. Preservation Society of Newport County; Left, Augustus Lutheran Church, 1743, Trappe, Pa

The first major exhibition to focus on the Muhlenbergs, Pastors & Patriots will bring the family to life using historical portraits, furniture, needlework, firearms, photographs, and many other artifacts—most of them never before exhibited or published. Highlights include a pair of chairs owned by Henry Muhlenberg; two wrought iron weathervanes, dated 1743, from the roof of Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe; and the pair of pistols stolen from his son, General Peter Muhlenberg during the Battle of Germantown in 1777. The exhibition is supported in part by The Shelley Pennsylvania German Heritage Fund. A fully-illustrated catalogue published in collaboration with the Pennsylvania German Society will accompany the exhibition.

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711–87) was a Lutheran minister sent from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1742 to serve three congregations. During his 45-year ministry, he helped establish numerous Lutheran churches and served congregations in Trappe, New Hanover, and Philadelphia. From his arrival in 1742 until 1761, and again from 1776 until his death 1787, he lived in Trappe, Montgomery County. Henry and his wife, Anna Maria Weiser, who was the daughter of legendary Indian treaty negotiator Conrad Weiser, had seven children, including Peter Muhlenberg, a general during the American Revolution; Frederick Muhlenberg, the first Speaker of the U.S. House; and Henry Muhlenberg Jr., a renowned botanist who was the first president of Franklin & Marshall College. A grandson, John Andrew Schultze, was governor of Pennsylvania from 1823–29. Other descendants were active in politics, the military, medicine, the church, and education.

Pastors & Patriots is one of many undertakings to celebrate the anniversary of Muhlenberg’s birth. Muhlenberg’s longtime home of Trappe, Montgomery County, will be the focus of many activities, which have inspired the formation of the Historic Muhlenberg Partnership—an alliance of Augustus Lutheran Church, the Historical Society of Trappe (Henry Muhlenberg House), The Speaker’s House (Frederick Muhlenberg House), and Trappe Borough—to offer coordinated tours and programming. For more information, visit

Category: Museum News

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