Religion in Museums

Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives

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Gretchen Buggeln, Crispin Paine, S. Brent Plate
  • New York, NY: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , February
     296 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Francis Stewart forthcoming.


Bringing together scholars and practitioners from North America, Europe, Russia, and Australia, this pioneering volume provides a global survey of how museums address religion and charts a course for future research and interpretation. Contributors from a variety of disciplines and institutions explore the work of museums from many perspectives, including cultural studies, religious studies, and visual and material culture. Most museums throughout the world – whether art, archaeology, anthropology or history museums – include religious objects, and an increasing number are beginning to address religion as a major category of human identity. With rising museum attendance and the increasingly complex role of religion in social and geopolitical realities, this work of stewardship and interpretation is urgent and important. 

Religion in Museums is divided into six sections: museum buildings, reception, objects, collecting and research, interpretation of objects and exhibitions, and the representation of religion in different types of museums. Topics covered include repatriation, conservation, architectural design, exhibition, heritage, missionary collections, curation, collections and display, and the visitor's experience. Case studies provide comprehensive coverage and range from museums devoted specifically to the diversity of religious traditions, such as the State Museum of the History of Religion in St Petersburg, to exhibitions centered on religion at secular museums, such as Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, at the British Museum.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Gretchen Buggeln holds the Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts at Valparaiso University, Indiana.

Crispin Paine is honorary lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, UK.

S. Brent Plate is visiting associate professor of religious studies at Hamilton College, New York.

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