March’s Magical History Tour takes place in Lakewood’s Birdtown district, at the Museum of Divine Statues on Madison Avenue. Hours are noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 with complimentary on-site parking available off Halstead Avenue.
Three low, wide steps end at the sidewalk, a short distance separating visitors from the wooden double doors of the Museum of Divine Statues, located in the former St. Hedwig’s church. Converted from a community hall in 1975, the church served the parish of St. Hedwig, established in 1914 to serve the needs of Lakewood’s Roman Catholic Polish residents. In 2009, amid changing demographics and lack of priests and funds, the church was part of the 50 downsized parishes in Cleveland’s eight-county diocese; it closed that November.
It didn’t remain shuttered for long.
In April 2011, St. Hedwig’s found new life as the Museum of Divine Statues. The man behind the transition seemed to have been tailor-made for the roll: makeup artist, founder of Lusso Cosmetics, amateur collector and restorer of religious statuary – Lou McClung had it all. His hobby began small, restoring one little statue salvaged from a local antique store. The collection grew from there, with his purchasing of St. Hedwig’s over a decade later finally permitting display of the pieces in a proper museum setting.