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The religioscape of museums: understanding modern interactions with ancient ritual spaces

Flanagan, Mariah Camille (2017) The religioscape of museums: understanding modern interactions with ancient ritual spaces. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The term religioscape, or the spatial parameters of religious space, is conventionally linked to groups that adhere to specific religious ideologies and venerate the same deity/deities. However, elements that make up a religioscape, such as tradition and ritual, and both group and solitary worship or adoration, can thrive without a definite deity. A specific ritual space is necessary to many world religioscapes. This thesis will explore the modern Western museum (both open-air and purpose-built) as a specific ritual space, and consider how the museumification of elements from four ancient Egyptian temple complexes engage both curators and modern tourists visiting these structures as part of a new active religioscape – the modern religioscape of Museums. To demonstrate the new religioscape of Museums, this thesis employs primary observational research and secondary literary research to investigate modern display of the structures from four Egyptian temple complexes including the Luxor temple complex in-situ in Luxor, Egypt; the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States; the gate of the Temple of Kalabsha in the Eastern Stüler Building alongside the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg in Berlin, Germany; and the Temple of Taffeh in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, the Netherlands. The Pergamonmuseum in Berlin is also examined, as it is the future location for the Kalabsha gate. Through this investigation, this thesis finds that it is not the amount of “original” context surrounding a structure within a museum (both open-air and purpose-built) that embeds it within the religioscape of Museums, but the atmosphere and expectations related to these structures as experienced by the believing worshippers, the museum tourists. Thus, museum tourists, as a modern religious group, display specific types of ideologies that constitute a new religioscape and aid in the overall discussion of museumification of religiously-important objects.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Flanagan, Mariah Camillemcf37@pitt.edumcf37
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorPeters,
Committee MemberWeaver,
Committee MemberHayden,
Committee MemberTanyeri-Erdemir,
Date: 25 August 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 July 2017
Approval Date: 25 August 2017
Submission Date: 4 August 2017
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 120
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Museum studies, anthropology, antagonistic tolerance, religioscape, ritual, Egyptian temple
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2017 17:32
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2022 05:15


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