POSTS FROM ‘Religious History’

  • Will you be among the hundreds of history professionals who are coming to the Annual Meeting in Austin, TX?  Are you interested in ways to incorporate religious history into your site’s interpretation?  Want to connect with colleagues who actively consider the religious dimensions of our national history?  Then consider taking advantage of these religious history opportunities in Austin. The […]

  • AASLH has been giving a lot of attention recently to how we as interpreters use language. “We live by stories,” wrote Nobel winner Elie Wiesel. And so do history organizations and the communities we serve. As AASLH puts it, “Stories explain how things are, why they are, and their role and purpose.” But what makes […]

  • Last year, the Arch Street Friends Meeting House in Philadelphia erected a large chalkboard adjacent to its main entrance. Emblazoned on it was a headline: How will you change the world? Over a period of weeks, hundreds of passers-by offered their ideas on how to make the world better for themselves and their communities. As […]

  • When I tell people I study religious history, the conversation frequently turns to the state of religion in the United States. People often ask how I feel about where we are in relation to our “religious roots” as a nation. Depending on the person I’m talking to, they are generally looking for my thoughts on […]

  • Just ten or so years ago museums almost entirely ignored religion. Sure, archaeology and anthropology museums paid attention, but most history museums presented little beyond the odd commemorative plaque or church plate. Often nothing about what local people actually did and do. And art museums converted every sacred object or religious picture they got into […]

  • From prairie churches to urban cathedrals and synagogues, historic sacred places are often the oldest, and most beautiful, buildings within our communities. It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 historic congregations across America and they play a vital role in shaping the character of communities, both as places of worship and as community […]

  • In late October 2016 I attended the 30th Biennial Conference on Faith and History held at Regent University. Our theme this year was “Historians and the Challenges of Race, Gender, and Identity.” Talking about these subjects only a few weeks before the general election in November made the atmosphere crackle with urgency. I prepared a […]

  • Many museums and historic preservation groups have been unsure how to react to the growing popularity of commercial ghost tours over the past twenty years.  Some museums have tried to avoid any connection to what they perceive as inaccurate, theatrical, or just sensational uses of history. Others have embraced the idea and offer their own […]

  • Memento Mori is a style of art that was popular from the 15th century through the 17th century, which gets its name from the Latin phrase meaning “remember you must die.” The style is marked by images of skulls and corpses and is intended to encourage the viewer to contemplate their own mortality. In a […]

  • In our relationships with co-workers, friends, and family, there are generally two topics we’re inclined to avoid: politics and religion. For museums and historic sites, discussing politics—or more appropriately, political history—with visitors is an essential part of their interpretation and programming. Religious history….well, that is a different story. There are many reasons why we avoid discussing […]