It was born in 1989 with the aim of gathering, cataloguing and displaying the different objects that witness the fervent devotion of many generations to St. Michael.
A large part of it is made up of gifts offered to the Sanctuary by both famous and unknown pilgrims, most of them were given as a sign of recognition for graces received throughout the multi-century history of this shrine.
These feelings are particularly expressed through the “ex-voto” in the form of paintings that “visually” tell about the graces and miracles obtained through the intercession of the Archangel.
The treasured objects are many and varied.
The most precious ones are the liturgical vestments, chalices, crosses, silver lamps, censers, little boats, candelabra, reliquaries: objects accumulated for the most part during the last two centuries.
Also very interesting are:
- a series of archaeological exhibits, donated by dr. Philip Prencipe;
- the collection of coins and medals, among them there are some Greek coins which date back to the 6th-3rd centuries BC;
- copies of some panels of the Bronze Doors of the Sanctuary, reproduced on slabs of stone (18th-19th century).
Another important section of the Museum houses objects and testimonies of the popular religiosity of the dwellers of the Archangel Town and of all Gargano area. Deserving to be admired are the so-called “Glass Bells” which enclose statues of saints that in ancient times used to occupy a place of great respect in every homes; then, there is an interesting collection of statues depicting St. Michael made by statue sculptors who used local stone or alabaster and, through family tradition, they passed on from generation to generation this exclusive privilege conceded by king Ferdinand of Aragon to the artists of Monte Sant’Angelo in 1475.
Furthermore there are some objects obtained more recently:
- various vases and ceramics painted by the Abruzzese school;
- a Nativity sculpted by the artists of Ortisei (Bz);
- a collection of statuettes made of leather and reproducing scenes of family life and a pilgrimage to the Gargano;
- a votive habit of St. Michael;
- a collection of plates and cups representing St. Michael;
- an evocative collection of decorated votive candles is also very precious.
A remarkable and interesting part of the devotional Museum is comprised of a collection icons of the Blessed Virgin and of Saints, very fine examples of the Russian-Slavic School, and copies of icons kept in Greece, inspired by the figure of the Archangel.
However, in this Museum the central place belongs to the most ancient icon of St. Michael venerated in the Sanctuary. Originally, up until 1891 it was kept in the so-called Cave of the Stones, then, it was kept in the Chapel of the Relics for some time. This work of great value is realized in gilded copper and is known as Byzantine Icon and dated 6th-7th century but, according to some recent studies its origin is attributed to the Longobard period (8th-9th century). All these gifts offered to the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo are a witness to the love, devotion and cult of St. Michael through the centuries. They attest to the vitality and importance of this sacred place for pilgrims and visitors who arrived at the shrine from all over the world.