History museums want help showcasing religion and culture – Daily Press


Two community sessions seeking to best include the subject of religion in the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s history museums – the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown – are scheduled for next week.

The two 90-minute sessions are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and 2:00 p.m. April 30 at the Jamestown Settlement Education Center on Jamestown Road. Reservations are requested.

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic foundation, asked the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation to apply for an invitation-only grant. The grant is associated with Lilly’s Religion and Culture Initiative program, according to Mariruth Leftwich, senior director of museum operations and education at Jamestown-Yorktown.

The two Jamestown sessions are designed to get suggestions and ideas to help formulate another program, if accepted by Lilly.

Lilly’s initiative, launched in 2019, is designed to provide funds to organizations to help museums and cultural institutions explore how religious programming “could more fairly and accurately represent the role of religion in states.” United and in the world”. The program will hopefully “promote public understanding of religion and increase the contributions of people of all faiths and diverse religious communities to improve our civil welfare,” the Lilly Foundation said on its website.

This association with Lilly, Leftwich said, aligns well with the concerns of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation because “we realized we had significant gaps in telling the story of the significance of the history of religion in shaping the nation. of Jamestown and later of Yorktown.

“We did an initial audit and realized that we are not presenting religion well enough” and that we could improve in the areas of exhibits and educational programs, she said.

Leftwich said she doubted Lilly knew about the Jamestown-Yorktown situation, and “honestly, I think we probably fit the institutional profile” that would be a suitable partner in the religion and culture initiative project.

Lilly awarded the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation a one-year planning grant to be used in developing a proposal for a broader implementation of “religion and culture” in existing museum interpretations.

Larger institutions like the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Chicago History Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts are already involved in the initiative.

According to Lilly’s website, Colonial Williamsburg received $2.5 million to create an endowment to support actor-performers for religious programs and funding to support archaeological investigations and architectural work needed to rebuild the colony. first original Baptist church in the historic district of the city.

Leftwich said there are a number of opportunities where the religious aspects of the Jamestown Colony and Colonial Virginia could be enhanced.

“We could reinterpret some of the main galleries in Jamestown and Yorktown or implement new aspects of religion in our outdoor life history programs,” she said. There could also be symposia and/or lectures on religion in the 17th and 18th centuries or the hiring of a staff member “dedicated to helping the foundation understand the implementation of the history of religion” during this period.

Attendees will receive a voucher for free admission to the Jamestown and Yorktown museums. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations must be made by Sunday at (757) 703-6098 or educationnews@jyf.virginia.gov.


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