New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 76

new church life: march/april 2017 “Too often, though, museums don’t let the religious role and significance of their objects show. They treat them as art, or history, or sometimes science, and their fascinating back-story is suppressed. . . . I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with this – simply that it would be valuable for museums  also  to help visitors understand their  religious  meanings – as Glencairn Museum does.” Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, noted scholar of religious art at Georgetown University, wrote that Glencairn Museum “is unique in its dedication to collecting and displaying the art of world religions in the United States. The only other such museums of which I am aware are St. Mungo’s Museum of Art and Religion in Glasgow and the Museum of World Religions in Taipei. While there are museums that specialize in modern religious art, such as the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art in St. Louis and the Gallery of Modern Religious Art in Vatican City, their focus is narrower than the wide lens of Glencairn Museum.” Brian adds: “While it may be a new trend in museums to give religious meaning back to religious objects, the Academy’s museum, from its establishment, has interpreted the objects in its collections as expressions of faith, used for the very purpose of understanding their religious meaning in their religious context. “The goal has always been to use objects to better understand the religious beliefs of other cultures throughout history, and to see how these cultures have received and responded to the Lord’s influx. “For while we are taught that the Lord’s church exists specifically where the Word is, where the Lord is known, and where Divine Truths are revealed, we are also taught that there is a union of heaven through the Word with people who are outside the Church, where the Word is not found. For the Lord’s Church, whether specific or universal, is everywhere and exists with everyone who acknowledges a divine and lives a good life.” Education is key to the museum’s Glencairn Museum “is unique in its dedication to collecting and displaying the art of world religions in the United States. While there are museums that specialize in modern religious art, their focus is narrower than the wide lens of Glencairn Museum.” (Diane Apostolos- Cappadona, noted scholar of religious art) 142