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The Sacred Lives of Objects

Seeing and Being Seen in the Modern Museum

Objects are not usually thought to possess their own power. Indeed, when people are disempowered we say that they are “objectified.” But everyday objects, as well as objects of devotion, act upon us in powerful ways.

This exhibit seeks to explore the potential for power, movement, and action in devotional objects. We challenge you to remain open to the possibility that objects have complex lives of their own. As you look at them, they might be looking back.

Objects of Devotion 

Natalie Gummer and her RLS 210 Religious Studies class curated the "Objects of Devotion Exhibit." Click on the small images to read the sub-themes and view the individual objects.

This exhibit runs through November 10 in the North Gallery.

Objects of Devotion 


Can an object act without your knowledge?

Moving from tree to tree, the spirit of this Iroquois false face mask has its own whims even before it has been carved. When prayer wheels turn, the mantras held inside draw all sentient beings closer to enlightenment. After a college chapel was secularized, this cross was left behind to participate in a hidden struggle between the building’s past and future identities. We live within a vast network in which objects transform all aspects of our lives. 


Loriann Bork
9 September 2013
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Can an object invite devotion?
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Can an object act without your knowledge?

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