The museum reflects Waldensian architecture and houses the largest collection of Waldensian artifacts in the United States. You will immerse yourself in a rich history of the struggles of people whose faith was as solid and constant as the ancient alps surrounding their homeland in the European valleys. Learn of their sacrifices, courage and their role in the foundation and formation of today's Reformed Theology. Explore the legacy of the Waldensian people as you retrace their journey through Europe in the Middle Ages to their settlement here in the new world. See where they worshiped, how they lived, made wine, baked bread, and kept their heritage alive. Research their ancestry in our library and archives and discover the price they paid for liberty - theirs and yours.
During a period of Roman Catholic dominance, Waldenses vowed to live out the teachings of the Bible in a time when only priests were allowed to read and preach the Bible. Going against the church's doctrines, they were declared heretics.
Though many were massacred, miraculously some survived centuries of the Inquisition. Those remaining joined the Reformation in 1532 and suffered more persecution as Christians were killed or imprisoned. Eventually, they were exiled into the Swiss Alps. In 1689, a contingent of men began the journey back to their valleys in the "Glorious Return." The Edict of Emancipation (Feb. 17, 1848) gave the Waldenses political and legal rights. The many beautiful displays in the museum tell the story of how they survived almost insurmountable odds to establish a thriving community in Burke County built upon hope and dreams based on the faith of their fathers.