7 May 2015 10:00am - 6:00pm S1, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge


Registration is now closed for this event.

From official imperial and colonial displays and monumental exhibitions of sculpture, to exhibits of needlework, coal and mechanical ants, the nineteenth century was an era of unprecedented exhibition of material objects. New museums were founded; old museums rebuilt; and large scale temporary exhibits, inaugurated by the Great Exhibition of 1851, attracted visitors in their millions. Where did the material culture of religion figure amongst these exhibits? This one-day seminar explores the display of religious material culture in Britain and the US during the long nineteenth century. It looks beyond the better-known exhibitionary spaces of Victorian Britain, to consider the Caxton Exhibition (1877), the Anglo-Jewish exhibition of (1887), the Exhibition of Jewish Art and Antiquities (1906), the London Missionary Society Museum (1814-1910). What happens to sacred objects when displayed to the public? Is the museum necessarily a secular space?

The day is organised around the visit of CRASSH Bible and Antiquity visiting fellow, Professor Colleen McDannell (University of Utah), whose groundbreaking research on material religion brought new attention to the 'stuff' of religion. Professor McDannell brings a transatlantic perspective to bear on the exhibition of belief, and will be theorising 'Heritage Religion' in relation to Mormon reconstructions of sacred monuments. 


Colleen McDannell (Utah)

Alison Knight (Cambridge)

Kathrin Pieren (Southampton)

Chris Wingfield (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge)


Alison Knight (Cambridge)

Kate Nichols (Cambridge)

Administrative assistance: bible@crassh.cam.ac.uk

We are unable to arrange or book accommodation for delegates (other than the invIted speakers), however the following websites might be of help:

Visit Cambridge

Cambridge Rooms

University of Cambridge Accommodation service

This event is supported by funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ ERC grant agreement no 295463



Thursday 7 May 2015
10.00 - 10.30


10.30 - 12.00

Alison Knight (University of Cambridge):

The Caxton Exhibition of 1877: Edition as Exhibition

Respondent: David McKitterick (University of Cambridge)

12.00 - 12.15

Coffee break

12.15 - 1.45

Kathrin Pieren (University of Southampton):

Art object or religious artefact? Motifs and motivations in the display of Judaica at the turn of the 20th century

Respondent: David Feldman (Birkbeck College, University of London)

1.45 - 2.30


2.30 - 4.00

Colleen McDannell (University of Utah/CRASSH Visiting Fellow):

Heritage Religion and the Mormons

Respondent: David Maxwell (University of Cambridge)

4.00 - 4.30

Tea break

4.30 - 6.00

Chris Wingfield (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge):

“Scarcely more than a Christian trophy case”? The London Missionary Society Museum 1814-1910

Respondent: Sarah Longair (British Museum)


Drinks reception


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk