Vatican Splendor in St. Paul: Artifacts and art on display

One can’t argue the influence that Vatican City has had in the world. You might argue, but you’d lose. I’ve been there twice and its opulence, abundance of art, pomp and mystery has stayed with me. There is a certain awe one can feel when walking across the plaza and into St. Peter’s Basilica.

Getting to the Vatican to see such splendor and traversing where Michelangelo once walked on his way to create his masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is not something in everyone’s vacation future. Fortunately, if you head to St. Paul, Minnesota, you can get a taste of the Vatican. (Or course, if you are closer to the Vatican instead of St. Paul, by all means, go to the Vatican.)

The “Vatican Splendors from St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums and the Swiss Guard” exhibit at the Minnesota History Museum has 200, give or take a few, artworks and artifacts from Vatican City. Many have never left Vatican City before.

One item that interests me is Michelangelo’s drafting compass. He used it when he worked on the Sistine Chapel. The exhibit goes through January 11. If you go to Vatican City anytime soon, you won’t see the compass. It’s in St. Paul.

This exhibit was previously in Cleveland, Ohio and St. Petersburg, Florida.