Christian Science Church to Be Made Into Museum

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    (Photo: Courtesy the City of Rock Island, Ill.)
    First Church of Christ, Scientist of Rock Island, Illinois. The church was made a landmark in 1993 and has been out of use for years. It will become part of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums system in 2012.
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
December 2, 2011|9:02 pm

An abandoned Illinois church once part of the Christian Science Church will soon be converted into a museum containing various historical documents.

First Church of Christ, Scientist, a domed neoclassical styled building first opened in 1915, will become part of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums system.

Christopher M. Kelly, director of two Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums in Buffalo, N.Y., gave The Christian Post some background on the acquisition of the church.

“The Rock Island IL building was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Karpeles after careful consideration of the potential re-use of the edifice, and the feasibility of establishing a museum within the Quad Cities community,” said Kelly.

Kelly also explained that “many of our museums are former churches. We have some basic information about each of our facilities on our website.”

Though lacking a formal relationship with the Christian Science Church, at least one other museum, Buffalo North Hall, was also originally a church for the sect in question.

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In addition to being the director of two Karpeles museums, Kelly said he “assists in the renovation and adaptive reuse of new facilities acquired by our benefactors Dr. David and Marsha Karpeles.”

He will be arriving in Rock Island in a couple weeks to assess the building and adapt it for reuse as a museum.

Founded in 1983, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums boasts of having the world’s largest collection of important original manuscripts.

Items in their collection include the original draft of the United States’ Bill of Rights and a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” signed by George Washington.

First Church of Christ Scientist of Rock Island, Ill., was opened in 1915 and was made into a landmark in 1993. It fell into disuse during the 1990s. The Church of Christ Scientist was founded in 1879 and does not adhere to orthodox Christian theology on sin, Jesus Christ, and the trinity, among other beliefs.

The Church of Christ, Scientist declined to comment on the story.

 

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