The Museum tells the story of this renowned author, pastor and preacher. Visitors to the museum are able to take a walk through Bunyan’s life and times.
On entering the museum, visitors are greeted with a three-dimensional model of Bunyan towards the end of his life. Visitors are invited by Bunyan to join him as he looks back over his life. The periphery of the room is made up by a series of tableaux, room sets and reconstructions, interspersed with information points.
This area is a reconstruction of part of a 17th century kitchen and eating area with work surfaces and reproduction wear. It evokes the kind of home in which Bunyan and his first wife grew up.
The town and work
Following on from the early life section, the visitor now walks through a section recreating the 17th century Bedford scene. There is a three-dimensional figure of a tinker which was Bunyan's original trade, as well as an anvil and tools which can be handled. There are also jigsaw versions of John Speed's 1610 map of Bedford, and one from today.
Civil War: Bunyan as a soldier
Bunyan's period of service in the parliamentary army is represented in this reconstruction of a corner of a barrack room complete with furniture. There is a three-dimensional figure of Bunyan as a young soldier and an interpretative information panel.
Illegal preaching and the Foundation of Bunyan Meeting
An information point sets out the context of the founding in 1650 of the group that became Bunyan Meeting, and includes details of the risks of preaching, the second prison sentence and the establishment of the new Church. In the latter years of his life, John Bunyan became a well-known figure in London and crowds flocked to hear him preach, at times in the open air, and at times in various chapels where he was welcomed.
Facsimile of the warrant, signed by 13 magistrates in 1675 for the arrest of John Bunyan for unlawful preaching. Two signatures would have sufficed, which reflects Bunyan's increased stature. It led to his second imprisonment for six months in 1677.
This area is a self-contained reconstruction of the day room in Bedford jail. The door displayed on the wall is believed to be the door of the prisoners' day room from the county jail, which was situated at the corner of the High Street and Silver Street. Bunyan was imprisoned behind this door for 12 years. The door consists of three layers of oak laid transversely and fastened together with 112 metal studs. It still has the original 33 inch long blacksmith-made hinges, and one of the two metal hasps which used to lock the door to large stables. The room is large enough to accommodate a large group of small children. There is a customed mannequin of Bunyan as a prisoner. A graphic panel explains the lack of civil and religious rights.
This section deals with Bunyan's later life, death and subsequent impact.
Dividing the centre of the room is a curved linear feature which is comprised of three elements; a graphic presentation of The Pilgrims Progress; a general 'timeline' showing significant social, political and religious events; and a Bunyan 'timeline' highlighting significant events in Bunyan's life. In addition, a number of key artefacts are displayed in purpose-built showcases within the feature and should not be missed by visitors.
The Bunyan Museum adjoins the church buildings and houses Bunyan memorabilia, as well as the editions of The Pilgrim’s Progress in more than 170 different languages.
The museum is visited by visitors from countries all over the world, including Holland, America and Japan.
The Pilgrim's Progress
Although John Bunyan is best known as the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, he wrote some sixty books and pamphlets in all. Many of these are on display in the library section of the museum, together with over 170 foreign editions of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
John Bunyan Museum and Library
tel (01234) 270303 email email@example.com
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