Religion in Museum Education


Forum on Museums and Religion | Forum sui musei e la religione


Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici – Church Auditorium San Jacopo in Campo Corbolini, Via Faenza 43
23 February 2018


Most museums are not associated with religious institutions yet many possess objects of religious significance. These objects are generally presented to the public using historical and aesthetic criteria—both in their labeling, apps, and audio-tours and in the various forms of educational programming they provide, including tours, lectures, and laboratories.

References to religious function sometimes figure into such educational events, especially when historical descriptions encourage them, but only rarely does the sacred role dominate, even though many objects were first and foremost conceived for a specific religious context.

In this workshop, the Forum on Museums and Religion brings together museum educators and religious authorities to investigate and discuss how secular museums housing religious objects might develop educational programming that highlights sacred functions without risking the impression of a religious agenda.





9.15 Welcoming Remarks
Maia Wellington Gahtan, Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici – Department of Museum Studies, Firenze
‘Understanding Religion through Art’. A Model Project at the Museum Rietberg Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Caroline Widmer
, Art Education, Head of the project, ‘Understanding Religion through Art’, Museum Rietberg, Zurich
Anna Hagdorn, M.A. Project member, ‘Understanding Religion through Art’, Museum Rietberg, Zurich
From the Gallery Floor – Reflections on Everyday Intersections between Education and Religion
Dr. Devorah Block, Director for Learning, Circles Squared Foundation, New York
Sharing the sacred with schools: teaching RE in the British Museum

Dr. Nicholas Badcott, Education Manager, Learning and National Partnerships, British Museum, London

*Coffee Break*
Sharing Heritage in Intercultural Contexts: Religious Objects in the Museum in Art Historical Research and Education

Dr. Katharina Schüppel, Technische Universität Dortmund, Institut für Kunst und Materielle Kultur, Seminar für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft
Building Bridges: Exhibiting and Mediating Religious Coexistence at the National Museum for the History of Immigration
Dr. Mathias Dreyfuss, Head of the Museum Education Department, Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Paris
The Shoah Memorial in Milan as a Shelter for the Refugees: A Story Worth Telling

Dr. Anna Chiara Cimoli, free-lance museum educator, Milan

Teaching from Paintings with Religious Subject Matter – Experiences at the Pinacoteca di Brera

Dr. Ilaria Beretta, Education Department, Pinacoteca Brera, Milan
Forty Years of Teaching Christian Iconography at the Uffizi: Promoting, Embracing, and Sharing Universal Values

Dr. Silvia Mascalchi, Education Department, Scuola e Giovani, Gallerie degli Uffizi
Churches as living museums. Ars et Fides make the stones speak

Dr. Niccolò Torrini, Responsible for Ars et Fides, Florence Chapter

*Coffee Break*


Roundtable with all participants
Responses by
Don Alfredo Jacopozzi, Ufficio Cultura della Diocesi / Facoltà Teologica dell’Italia Centrale, Firenze,
Rabbi Leigh Lerner, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal; Visiting Rabbi, Shir Hadash Firenze,
Prof. Dr. Carlotta Fuhs, Art History and Restoration Department Supervisor, Museum and Gallery Internship Supervisor Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence

Download the complete program in pdf here