“The Smithsonian Goes to Church”: Ivan Plis

“The Smithsonian Goes to Church”: Ivan Plis June 29, 2017

has a fun piece on what the Museum of American History says is its very first exhibit on religion:

The Smithsonian—with its new religion curator, Peter Manseau—appears to recognize how monumental and daunting a task it is to convey the contents of a society’s soul. Instead, Manseau is at his best taking snapshots of individual lives: a West African slave jotting down all the Islamic teaching he can remember, a fourteen-year-old girl stitching devotional poems in New Jersey, a Massachusetts churchman hastily replacing “King” with “Congress” in his Book of Common Prayer. There is also a Torah scroll, visibly scorched during the 1776 British occupation of Manhattan, and the saddlebags that accompanied a former slaveholder as he atoned for his sins, preaching abolition.


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