The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums are a private collection of more than a million manuscripts and documents in the United States, the largest such collection in the world. It was founded in 1983 by California real estate magnates David and Marsha Karpeles, with the goal of stimulating interest in learning, especially in children, and to make the collection more accessible, is distributed among many Karpeles museums across the US, each located in a historic building, plus "mini-museums" in schools and office buildings. Items are rotated between museums quarterly, and each of the museums presents a daily general exhibit and one or more special scheduled exhibits throughout the year. In addition, Karpeles is aggressively expanding the content of its website. All of the Karpeles Manuscript Library services are free. The museums are located in small and midsize cities, although the Karpeleses put on an exhibit on Central Park West in New York City in 1991. As of February 2020[update] , there were seventeen museums in fifteen cities.
In Buffalo, the Karpeles Museum consists of two separate buildings: Porter Hall at 453 Porter Avenue at Jersey Street and Plymouth Avenue; and North Hall at 220 North Street at Elmwood Avenue. Porter Hall was originally the Plymouth Methodist Church, while the North Hall was originally First Church of Christ, Scientist, built in 1911. The architecture of the building was designed to mimic a medieval church both inside and out, the structure creates a dominating and fascinating location for the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. The rough textured building contrasts with its vibrant red roof tiles and 25 foot picture windows. The cavernous interior is characterized by many bays, wings and a massive room divider. Furthermore, its atypical asymmetric design complements the triangular corner lot. 
Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston is housed in the former St. James Chapel, a Methodist church built in 1856. The building is in the Greek Revival style following the Corinthian order and was inspired by the Temple of Jupiter in Rome. During the Civil War, Confederates used the building as a hospital and stored medical supplies there. Hurricane Hugo tore off the roof of the building and destroyed its interior on September 21, 1989. Following renovation, the building reopened on November 11, 1990.
The Duluth Museum at 902 East 1st Street was originally First Church of Christ, Scientist, built in 1912; the original organ has been retained in the rotunda. The structure is a beautiful building with a large main floor exhibit hall. As the ceiling is high, the acoustics are excellent and the building is very suitable for musical concerts and other programs.  The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Duluth provides a School Outreach Program with reproductions of original documents in special display cases located in area schools, colleges and libraries.  At the present time the museum supports seventeen elementary, junior and high schools in Duluth, the Twin Cities area and also now in Wisconsin and Canada.  The documents and manuscripts are specially chosen to supplement school curriculum and matters of topical interest and are also on display at two local colleges and three public libraries. 
The Karpeles Museum in Fort Wayne occupies two buildings. Fairfield Hall at 2410 Fairfield Avenue is a former Church of Christ Scientist building and houses a rotating collection of historical documents, old and ancient ship models, and stone hieroglyphic inscriptions from the time of Moses. Piqua Hall is housed in a domed church at 3039 Piqua Avenue< built in 1917 as the First Church of God. It houses a rotating collection of historical maps.
The Fort Wayne location provides an educational outreach program in the form of mini-museum displays that are set up in local schools and maintained by museum staff.
The Jacksonville Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is located in the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building, a 1921 neoclassical structure in the Springfield neighborhood. There is also an antique book library, with volumes dating from the late 19th century, and a children's center.
The Karpeles Museum in Newburgh, New York, is located at 94 Broadway. It houses the Dona McPhillips Historical Painting Series, which includes many portraits of famous Americans grouped together as "Founding Fathers", "Civil War Union", "Civil War Confederates", "Indian Heroes", "More Indian Heroes", "Pathfinders", "Texas", "Blacks", "Pioneers" and "Women".
The museum building in Rock Island was originally the First Church of Christ, Scientist, built in 1896 in the Broadway Historic District. The building was designed by architect William C. Jones of Chicago in the Palladian style, it was built between 1914-1915. Its exterior walls are of brick covered by Bedford limestone. Its superimposed front portico is supported by six 2 story columns with egg-and-dart capitals. The dome actually consists of 2 domes: an outer dome and an inner dome which are separated by a space for lighting fixtures and maintenance. The inner dome consists of some 8,000 colored fish scale glass panes on a wooden support structure. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998.
The St. Louis branch of the Karpeles Manuscript Library opened on August 1, 2015. St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area to host a Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. The museum is located at 3524 Russell Boulevard, near Grand Boulevard and across the street from Compton Hill Reservoir Park. The structure was built as the Third Christian Science Church and opened in 1911 (it had been occupied in later decades by The New Paradise Missionary Baptist Church). The St. Louis Media History Foundation's Archives Exhibit Room is also housed in the building.The collection was featured on the PBS program, "Living St.Louis."
On March 26, 2019, a three alarm fire broke out at the museum causing considerable damage, mostly to the roof and the back of the building. About 80 firefighters were dispatched to the scene to fight the fire and haul out historic pieces such as old wooden ships and statues. St. Louis Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said the building was structurally sound and could be repaired, as it had a steel, not wooden, skeleton. As of 14 January 2021[update] , the roof has not yet been repaired.
The Santa Barbara Karpeles Museum, the first to be opened, is at 21 West Anapamu Street. Since its opening in 1986, the Karpeles in Santa Barbara has displayed thousands of historic documents and presented many full exhibits. Among those items on permanent display in the museum is an original Stone copy of the Declaration of Independence, a replica of the globe used by Columbus (sans the Western Hemisphere), handwritten scores by a dozen leading composers, and the computer guidance system used on the first Apollo lander flight to the moon. The Karpeles in Santa Barbara has played an important role in the educational and cultural life of the area.
The Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Tacoma, Washington, which opened in 1991, is located at 407 South G Street in a former American Legion post built in 1931, across the street from the Wright Park Arboretum.
The Library provides special educational programs and lectures for schools at all levels. The most popular of these are the Cultural Literacy Program and the School Outreach Program. In addition, Mini-Museums are maintained in many universities, secondary schools and grade schools throughout the country. These are free programs and your grade school, secondary school, college or university may participate.
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