For more than 35 years, retired University of Evansville chaplain Dr. R. Wayne Perkins and his wife Sally have amassed hundreds of commemorative pieces pertaining to John Wesley, the 18th century Anglican evangelist and theologian credited with founding Methodism. Throughout his travels to England and abroad, Perkins, a UE professor emeritus of religion, obtained memorabilia of Wesley’s life and ministry and showcased it in their East Side home, as featured in the July/August 2006 issue of Evansville Living.
In February, the Perkinses will donate their compilation to create the John Wesley Commemorative Collection in the lower level of UE’s Neu Chapel. According to UE chaplain Tammy Gieselman, the museum-quality gallery illustrates the longstanding heritage of the campus as a United Methodist affiliated institution and will hopefully serve as a resource center for those who want to learn more about the history of Wesley and Methodism. “We anticipate local church groups of all ages traveling to the UE campus and spending time in the Wesley Gallery,” she says.
Set to open Feb. 19, UE’s Founders Day, the more than 100-year-old collection includes paintings, prints, Staffordshire ceramics, glass figurines, plates, cups, saucers, money boxes, teapots, mugs, pins, and more. Ample space is available to allow visitors to sit and sift through literature about Wesley and the school’s Methodist history.