On April 11, the scientists of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology (IBRHA), Klaipėda University, took part in the official opening ceremony of the exhibition Luther’s Effect. 500 Years of Protestantism in the World (Germ. Luthereffekt. 500 Jahre Protestantismus in der Welt) devoted to the 500th anniversary of Protestantism. The conception of the exhibition covering several continents was expressed not merely by material exhibits, but also by contemporary visual means that highlighted the Reformed faith’s connection with the present. President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s welcome address emphasised the impact of Martin Luther’s creative power vivid to the present day. The interculturalism of the event, accentuated by the words of the German Minister of Culture and Media Professor Monika Grüters “culture opens worlds”, was expressed also through the compositions of African gospel by Kele Nive.
Among the 500 exhibits from European, American, Asian, and African regions, the materials of archaeological excavations from Klaipėda were introduced. German Historical Museum, organisers of the exhibition composition, sought to reveal different layers of the Reformation phenomenon both in terms of regions and time periods. The Klaipedian tiles were exposed in the central part of the exhibition, oriented toward the German basis of the Reformation: Martin Luther 95 theses, portraits of the great Reformers, and the artefacts reflecting the significance of the language and education, religious conflicts and missions, Lutherans and Reformers, and Anglicans and Anabaptists. One of the episodes of the Anabaptist Movement in Europe was represented in the portrait tiles excavated by KU scientists in the Old City of Klaipėda that were lent to the exhibition by the History Museum of Lithuania Minor. Based on the research conducted by dr. Raimonda Nabažaitė, junior researcher of the IBRHA, the tiles contained the portraits of Jan von Leyden (1509-1536) and Bernhard Knipperdolling (about 1495-1536), leaders of the radical Reformism branch – the Anabaptist Movement. The Klaipėda tiles were the only exhibits coming from Lithuania.
The exhibition has been expanded by exposition halls devoted to the acquaintanceship with the Swedish, USA, South Korean, and Tanzanian Protestantism through the artefacts of different cultures. The exhibits have been more thoroughly introduced in the exhibition catalogue which will soon reach Klaipėda. As stated by dr. Silva Pocytė, Director of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology, the participation of Klaipėda in the exhibition is of special significance for the disclosing of the Protestant culture of the city and the region; moreover, it witnesses international relations of the IBRHA scientists and the significance of their work in an international context.
The exhibition will be open in Martin Gropius Building (Germ. Martin-Gropius-Bau), Niederkirchnerstraße 7, Berlin, from 12 April to 5 November 2017.