The Sanctuary Museum – Lakewood, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

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The Sanctuary Museum

Lakewood, Ohio

An old church full of restored Catholic statues is a makeup artist's labor of love. 


An old Catholic church in northeast Ohio has been refurbished and filled with Catholic artifacts. The ornate recreation of a Catholic church, filled to the brim with discarded items, is photographer and makeup artist Lou McClung’s attempt at preserving what could have otherwise been lost.

Lou McClung has always been fascinated with religious statues. He’d been using his makeup knowledge to repair statues for some time when he learned the local diocese was planning on shutting down several churches in Ohio.

He convinced them to set aside Saint Hedwig’s, and gutted and repurposed the aging 1970s church to store and display all the artifacts he’s salvaged. The Sanctuary Museum (formerly known as The Museum of Divine Statues) opened in 2011. There are over 200 pieces of ecclesiastical art in the building in Lakewood’s Birdtown neighborhood.

The statues, antiquities, and massive stained-glass windows, mostly obtained from the Diocese of Cleveland, occupy the building right next to the lab where he creates pigments for his company Lusso Cosmetics.

Stained glass windows pull in rays of light, illuminating Joan of Arc adorned in battle armor, Saint Lucy, who carries her eyes on a plate, and the bleeding, arrow-filled chest of Saint Sebastian. But the museum’s centerpiece is a statue of the 13th-century martyr Saint Nepomucene.

Know Before You Go

 Open Saturdays, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission fee: $12.00.

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December 18, 2017

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