The Waynai Bible that was donated to ACU in 1956 and on exhibit in the Brown Library for 57 years has been on loan to the Museum of the Bible (Washington, D.C.) since April of 2013 and will return to ACU this December for a yearlong stay. During its time away, the Bible underwent conservation treatment by Francisco Rodriguez at the Museum of the Bible’s Oklahoma Green Collection facility. The repair entailed years of detailed work because of the state of deterioration of the paper. Rodriguez reported, “We stabilized it and brought Waynai’s Bible back to life, so to speak.” In all, the conservator used 7 1/2 miles of Japanese mending paper.
Even while the most unstable parts of it were undergoing restoration, the Bible became part of a traveling exhibit called “Passages” in Colorado Springs, Colorado, by Museum of the Bible in 2014. In 2018, in honor of the Reformation, the restored Waynai Bible traveled to Germany. It was a focal point of Museum of the Bible’s “This is Our Book” exhibit, and was displayed in Augsburg and Wittenberg. A special crate was built for it so that it would travel safely.
ACU and Museum of the Bible have agreed to a four-year loan cycle for the world’s largest Bible, so that ACU students will see it at home in Brown Library at least once while they are enrolled at ACU. After a year on display here, the Waynai Bible will return to Museum of the Bible for three years, where it will represent ACU to millions of visitors in Washington, D.C.
“It a fascinating testament to how Louis Waynai blended a vision, novel ingenuity, and skilled craftsmanship to raise awareness of the Bible,” observed Mac Ice, Director of Special Collections and Archives. “There’s no way around it, it is one-of-a-kind, and it never fails to accomplish what Waynai intended.”
The Waynai Bible is a hand-stamped copy of the entire King James Bible measuring 43.5 inches tall and 98 inches wide. Closed, the spine is 34 inches thick. The book has 8,048 pages and weighs in at 1,094 pounds.