George Whitefield's Moveable Pulpit
A hinged, collapsible pulpit made of oak is an artifact from the itinerant preacher George Whitefield who was part of the first Great Awakening movement of the 1740s in Great Britain and America. Whitefield electrified huge crowds with his dramatic, impassioned preaching. He regularly spoke outdoors, both because he often found himself banned from local churches, and because most church buildings could not hold the thousands who attended his revival meetings. The first recorded use of this portable pulpit was on April 9, 1742, in Moorfields, England. During his second address that day, there was a crowd of some 20,000 to 30,000 people in a carnival-like atmosphere. Not everyone approved of Whitefield's religious message: he was pelted with "a few stones, rotten eggs and pieces of dead cat." Undeterred, Whitefield continued to preach, and over the years he is believed to have delivered approximately 2,000 sermons from this pulpit.