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Attention Is the Beginning of Devotion: Museums and Liturgical Space in the Digital Age

Hannah McKnight

Hannah McKnight is a writer and researcher whose work spans subjects in theology, the
humanities, and museology. She is particularly interested in local churches that invite creative
practices into their worship and community engagement. Hannah holds a post-graduate degree
in Theology and the Arts from the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts and the
University of St. Andrews. She and her husband live in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she writes
(remotely) for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

The move toward inclusivity comes with a heightened awareness of
political and cultural tensions that pervade modern society. 

In his series on Cultural Liturgies, James K. Smith articulates a Christian anthropology based on the argument that even though our rational capacities set us apart from the animals, humans do not fundamentally experience the world in a rational way.

“Attention is the beginning of devotion,”1 suggests Mary Oliver (1935–2019), that prolific poet of the twentieth century who was known for her lingering walks in the woods. This line appears in her reflective essay “Upstream,” in which Oliver records her observations of nature. She writes of the tree that is “like another tree, but not too much” and the tulip that is “like the next tulip, but not altogether.” Her sight lingers and her thoughts attend to what she sees when walking through the wonders of the natural world. Oliver’s attention is specific, not general. She looks to the flowers and trees, to which she has given names, Archibald Violet, Clarissa Bluebell, Lilian Willow, and Noah, the oak tree.2 She has developed a knowledge of the plants that line her walk, and her attention to them has flowered into something akin to love. Robert Farrar Capon (1925–2013) describes a similar kind of attention in The Supper of the Lamb. He encourages the reader to sit with an onion for over an hour and to begin by addressing it like one of Oliver’s flowers.3 Both writers give glimpses into the art of attention, a form that is waning in a culture characterized by what T. S. Eliot terms “distraction from distraction by distraction.”4

The distracted nature of this age has only increased since the days when Eliot composed his “Four Quartets” and when Oliver and Capon wrote about their practices of attention. The world we live in now is visually saturated with glowing images of flashy, new, and youthful delights. The colors alone on a scroll through Instagram are enough to cloud one’s imagination with a seemingly endless array of distraction. 

Urged on by the global pandemic, art museums across the world have pivoted to providing digital content and even virtual gallery tours to compete for visitors’ attention. Apps that can easily be downloaded via QR codes allow museums, even those on smaller budgets, to build out digital programming where curators “speak” to visitors through augmented reality.5 The artworks cared for and preserved in museums’ permanent collections are shared publicly online, making great works of art accessible to everyone with Internet connection. These changes certainly entail certain benefits: for example, they have enabled members of the public who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to visit gallery spaces the chance to interact with some of the world’s most treasured works, and they have provided engaging programming for a variety of visitor demographics. But as museums begin to make these pivots and provide digital content, questions about the very nature of a museum arise: What about the physical space of a museum cannot be replicated in the virtual world? Can a museum help its visitors to see, to engage what is set before them and pay attention to life off screen? Can engaging a painted canvas or sculpted piece of marble form not only human attention but human devotions? The art museum, like the digital realm that dominates our daily experiences, is not a spiritually neutral space. As the very definition of museums changes and art institutions move ever more toward becoming centers of social engagement, how might Christians engage the conversations that are taking place in these spaces? 


Mending, 2016.

Installation view at Flashpoint Gallery, Washington, DC. Needles, thread, reclaimed wooden table, World Atlas pages, meditation cushions, cement, earth from Santuario de Chimayo, wood, paint, scissors, thread spool

Mending, 2016, Nicole Salimbene, Installation view at Flashpoint Gallery, Washington, DC., Needles, thread, reclaimed wooden table, world atlas pages, meditation cushions, cement, earth from Santuario de Chimayo, wood, paint, scissors, thread spool. 

Defining the Museum in the Digital Age 

Museums and galleries are “institutions of record,” meaning that they are primarily responsible for collecting, preserving, and sharing cultural artifacts with their communities.6 The term “museum” in Greek means to be set apart for the muses,7 and the institution is expected to collect the past for the inspiration of the future.8 The art museum as an institution came into normative practice in the eighteenth century,9 but the traditional understanding of what a museum is has significantly shifted in the last twenty to thirty years.10 Museums are, in many ways, “living institutions” whose values and identities are in constant flux.11 A clear example of this shift can be found in the International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) decision to rewrite their definition of what a museum is. Founded in 1946, the ICOM has historically defined the museum as 

a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.12

Recognizing the need for a new definition to match the cultural shift museums have experienced as a consequence of the digital age, in 2019 the ICOM undertook a three-year process to revise their definition.13 After three years of debates and conversations around this theme, members of the ICOM voted on August 24, 2022, to adopt the following definition: 

A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with theparticipation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection, and knowledge sharing.14 

According to this new definition, the institution of a museum as a “permanent institution in the service of society” that “collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage” largely remains the same. What has changed is how museums are expected to go about this work. Museums are no longer simply centers of cultural expertise that communicate top-down information about art and culture from the expert to the public. Instead, museums have become integral spaces for cultural dialogue and social change.15

As Sheila Watson notes: “A museum is no longer only measured by its internal possessions such as collections, endowments, staff and facilities, but by an external consideration of the benefits it provides to the individuals and communities it seeks to serve.”16 Owen Hopkins further articulates this shift as essentially a shift of priorities toward museum spaces over the collections they contain. He writes, “Since the 1990s, we have been living in the era of the global museum and museums of all types—encyclopaedic, of remembrance, of particular categories of object and activity—now proliferate across the globe. Central to this phenomenon has been the way that, in many examples, the museum building has begun to supersede the collection it contains.”17 Such a shift of emphasis to spaces of social engagement is also reflected in the argument of museologist Megan Johnston: “The world has dramatically changed, and museums have had no other option but to shed out-dated conventions and ways of working and thinking. Social engagement with the world around us is now imperative.”18 Johnston writes that the “epoch-changing realities of the internet and social practice,” citing movements like Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and Me Too, have led museums to reconsider their roles as civic institutions.19 The digital age and the cultural shifts brought about with it have led museums to refocus their efforts on three major areas: accessibility, inclusivity, and experience.20

One of the primary changes museums have faced in the digital age is the shift towards open accessibility. The first step toward accessibility most museums have endeavored is to make their collections available in digital formats. Ross Parry writes that the development of the Internet in the mid-1990s enabled museum collections to expand their reach beyond the walls of their buildings to engage a larger audience. He argues, “For the past 15 years, the web has done some extraordinary things to the way we, not just design exhibitions, but the way we think about the concept of a museum. Digital media has allowed the museum to become everywhere, to become 24 hours, to be connected to all visitors irrespective of their location.”21 This shift to digital accessibility expands both the museum’s ability to capture and store their collections and make that collection more accessible to a broader audience.

The move toward digital accessibility does not come without its challenges. Mia Ridge, the digital curator of Western Heritage Collections at the British Library, noted in an interview with Museums + Heritage that technological changes within museum organizations typically bring about seismic organizational change as well. She highlights that as museums move to providing digital content, both the museum’s audience and the donors supporting the museum tend to confuse “innovative” and “normalized” digital practices. These external expectations can put significant pressure on museum administrators, particularly those within smaller, localized institutions with limited funding. In other words, there can often be significant financial pressure that comes along with the expectation that a museum will build out a robust digital presence while also maintaining its physical collections and spaces.22

The second step many museums have taken to make their collections more viable in the digital age has been to emphasize inclusivity and invite under-represented communities to voice their interpretations of artworks in the collections. Some museums, like the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, have even invited those communities to contribute new items to their permanent collections.23 The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has taken an innovative approach to curation and educational programming through both their Rapid Response Collecting Taskforce and their Teen Curators Program.24 As the museum’s curator, Kate Mirand Calleri, explains, the interns at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum are encouraged to consider how history is presented through which items are represented and whose stories told.25 The interns are then tasked with selecting objects to add to the museum’s collection based on what broad themes they find to be “underrepresented or non-existent in the collection, such as criminal justice, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, racism, gentrification, propaganda/fake news, voting rights, and feminism.”26 Other museums are following suit through a variety of programming initiatives, most often under their diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI) practices.27

The move toward inclusivity comes with a heightened awareness of political and cultural tensions that pervade modern society. The museum as an institution, it seems, can no longer remain neutral on public issues.28 Just one of the many examples of how museums have been key players in bringing about cultural change is the removal of the Sackler family’s name from most major museums. While major patrons of the arts, the Sackler family is largely responsible for Purdue Pharma’s over-marketing of OxyContin, an addictive narcotic that led to a myriad of overdose deaths since its release in 1996.29 Beginning in March 2019 when the National Portrait Gallery declined a 1.3 million dollar gift from the family, other major art museums, including the Tate Modern, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the Louvre, have followed suit.30 These museums have removed the Sackler family’s name from their physical spaces and have distanced themselves from the family’s wealth. While this decision was widely accepted by most major art museums worldwide, it set the precedent for other challenging and decisive issues facing museum administrators regarding how they can and should respond to cultural conflicts that extend beyond the walls of the museum.31

The third major response museums have made in the digital age has been to reimagine how visitors might experience the museum space. In the ICOM’s new definition, this emphasis is described as the work museums do to “operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.”32 How a museum communicates starts with the building itself. Hopkins points to the Guggenheim Balboa as initiating this shift in the early 1990s. Since that time, museum buildings have been “conceived in such a way that [they stand] as emblem of the town, city or even country in which it is located.”33 How these buildings operate is measured by ethical and political standards and are situated not just for the interests of international tourism, but also for the local community’s participation in the life of the museum. This renewed focus on community experience leads to the development of volunteer programs, affiliate groups, and institutional partnerships. These external individuals and organizations are invited to support the museum’s leadership to steer the operations of the institution, giving community members ownership of their local art museum. 

The shift toward inviting the participation of the community within the museum has led to an array of educational experiences and opportunities offered by museums across the world. These educational initiatives tend to focus on immersive, sensory spaces that utilize digital technologies to engage youthful audiences.34 Other movements, like the “slow looking” movement and programs for the visually impaired,35 encourage museums to diversify their selling point by reaching groups that may not otherwise come to visit.36

In the digital age, museums succeed by offering unique, localized experiences that cannot be achieved by browsing the collections online. The question each museum must answer for itself is how does that museum get each visitor through the door? The shift from being centers of cultural expertise to becoming places for communities to come together around shared intrigues and experiences opens the comparison between the museum and the church.37 How does the one differ from the other? How might the two institutions relate? The digital age has made experiencing art in museums more accessible and inclusive for all visitors, including those of faith. 

In Person: The Liturgical Experience of the Museum and Gallery

Like liturgical worship, the experience of visual art in the museum is, at its most basic level, a physical and relational experience. The new definition of a museum put forth by the ICOM acknowledges just how important the embodied experience of a museum is. If art, as defined by Jeremy Begbie, is best understood as “a vehicle of interaction with the world . . . [and] a work of art is an object or happening through which we engage with the physical world we inhabit, and through which we converse with those communities with whom we share our lives,”38 then the experience of visual art is, at its most basic level, a physical and relational experience. Artworks like Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937) or Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (1642), while they can be considered in the abstract or viewed through a screen, are most fully experienced when encountered in the museum gallery. The embodied, experiential knowledge of visual art goes beyond conceptual or moral knowledge.39 Like liturgy, the embodied experience makes present that which is otherwise absent. That presence reveals meaning in particular ways, even offering interpretations of the work that might otherwise be missed.40

In his series on Cultural Liturgies, James K. Smith articulates a Christian anthropology based on the argument that even though our rational capacities set us apart from the animals, humans do not fundamentally experience the world in a rational way. The best example of this can be observed in the development of a baby to a child. The baby’s life is completely sustained by other people. She is fully dependent on the care of her parents or caregivers. Before the infant knows even the names of the people around her, she can take in the world through her five senses. Her eyes see the face of her mother; her skin feels the warmth of her mother’s embrace; her tongue tastes her mother’s milk; her little ears hear her parents’ voices; and her nose smells their scents. The senses develop first and are the first modes by which humans come to know the world. Only after a child has grown into her body is the child sent to school to engage and train her rational capacities. 

Building on Alasdair MacIntyre’s philosophical anthropology that human beings are dependent, rational animals, Smith posits that humans are more essentially liturgical animals.41 Before humans can reason, they desire, just as the young child desires milk from its mother.42 Smith writes that, as humans, we are “religious animals not because we are primarily believing animals but because we are liturgical animals—embodied, practicing creatures whose love/desire is aimed at something ultimate.”43 

Smith uses the language of art to articulate just how the human embodied experience affects not only our imaginations but also forms how we interact with the world. He attributes art with giving a vision of what the good life looks like. While Smith is primarily speaking of the university and the aim of Christian education in shaping students’ imaginations, his argument applies to new understandings of the art museum and gallery as places of social dialogue that help form what Charles Taylor calls our “social imaginaries.”44 The art museum, broadly defined, has entered a new frontier that in many ways mirrors what the university has become. The modern museum as understood in the digital age is a kind of mall of ideas where visitors experience art through the lens of social engagement. The cultural liturgies that are played out in art museums take place both through the embodied experiences of the place and within the limits of the human imagination.45

In Situ: Placemaking and Cultural Liturgies 

After the destruction of the Commons Chamber during the Blitz in World War II, Winston Churchill argued to the members of Parliament that the Chamber should be rebuilt as it was: a rectangular room with the two parties sitting on either side. Other parliamentary government buildings, like the United States Senate and House Chambers, tend to be semicircles that encourage consensus, whereas the direct, face-to-face shape of the Commons Chamber encourages confrontation and debate. In his argument, Churchill famously claimed: “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”46 The same could be said for all public institutions, including art museums and religious gathering spaces. The built environment of museum and gallery spaces affords certain interpretations of place that ultimately shape the human imagination. 

Museum and gallery curators recognize that how a work of art is experienced is significantly affected by where the artwork is placed and what it stands in relation to. For example, Guernica, perhaps Pablo Picasso’s most famous work that depicts the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, is housed by the Reina Sofia in Madrid in its own gallery space. The room is entirely dedicated to this one painting. The other works of art in the room show historic photographs of the work in progress and of cartoons done by Picasso in preparation for the finished work.47 When one enters the gallery, the sensation of being enveloped by one of the twentieth century’s most moving pieces of art is overwhelming. The piece is 7.77 meters in length, and stands 3.49 meters tall, taking up one entire wall. The painting dwarfs the viewer, not only by its size, but also by the room’s entirety of focus on this singular work of art. There is no bench in the gallery, so the viewer is required to stand in the presence of the painting. The walls are solid white with minimal lighting features above, and the floors are a clean but cold, gray tile. The only warmth in this space comes from the violent movement within the painting and the breathing visitor before it. The relational experience of this work is isolating; viewers stand apart from one another, and if they dare speak, often manage to merely whisper in hushed tones. Standing before Guernica is likely to afford the contemplation of war and loss no matter what gallery it is in. However, place it in Room 205.10 and the work affords the viewer with an even starker interpretation than might otherwise be had. 

Compare the embodied experience of Guernica with another large and internationally known work, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. While this painting is a similar height, (3.795 meters), it is shorter in length than Guernica by a little more than three meters. While the gallery at the Rijksmuseum is named the Night Watch Gallery after Rembrandt’s piece, there are four other large works in the room all painted by contemporaries of Rembrandt. A skylight allows natural light to filter into the room. Benches provide places for visitors to rest and reflect on the grandeur of the Dutch masterpiece. A carpet covers the hardwood floors and softens the footsteps of the over 2.6 million guests who visit the Rijksmuseum each year.48 The Night Watch Gallery is an inviting space, the embodied experience of which is much warmer than Room 205.10 in the Reina Sofia. The relational aspect of The Night Watch is communal. Not only are the figures in the image in conversation and relationship to each other, but the painting is in relation to other paintings of a similar type. The viewer, too, is invited to sit on a bench with other museumgoers or to join the crowd that has gathered in front of the work and notice the expressions of each of the different characters in the painting. 


“Room 205.10,” Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, accessed August 13, 2022,


“Night Watch Gallery—Inside the Rijksmuseum—Visitor Information,” Rijksmuseum, accessed August 13, 2022,

 Not only do the galleries these works are displayed in inform the embodied experience of a work of art, but the built environments of the museums themselves communicate an interpretation of why their permanent collections might matter to their local community and to the general public. Jennifer Allen Craft describes the embodied experience a place affords as “placemaking” and “enacted space.”49 She writes, “Placemaking is about more than just creating beautiful spaces, architecture, or natural environments; it is about the space between the buildings, the people actively and repeatedly making a place as a community in the ‘built environment.’”50 The places she describes are relational and enacted because they are “liturgically made through the back-and-forth efforts, both grassroots and institutional, of the people, which include . . . architecture and other visual expressions.”51 Because humans are what Smith calls “liturgical animals,” the places that people build—including museums and galleries—in turn form cultural liturgies of place, which shape a community’s imagination of what art museums are for. 

One example of how placemaking informs the cultural liturgies of museums can be seen in museums built before the rise of the Internet, which were built mostly of stone to mirror Greco-Roman temples. Examples of this style include The British National Gallery (1824), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1872), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1928), and the Victoria and Albert (1852). What the built environments of these museums share include exterior columns and large staircases leading up to the main galleries. Walking up to the galleries affords a secular liturgy that the artworks held in a museum are higher, or more significant, than the ordinary experiences of art in the everyday. The setting communicates that art in these museums is set apart and meant to be visited like the gods of the ancient world. 

In contrast, most major art museums built from the mid-twentieth century onward are primarily made of some combination of stonework and glass, allowing more natural light into gallery spaces, and communicating a sense of openness toward the local community and potential visitors.52 The built environment of these museums is made for the person even more than it is made for the art. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the museums built after the turn of the millennium communicates a different kind of cultural liturgy. Namely, that there is little difference between the outside world and the gathering space within the museum; all are welcome. Art is no longer something set apart from ordinary life. Instead, museums hope to reintegrate art into the common social and political experience of the community. In a spin on Churchill’s words, Craft writes, “The arts might shape the places, and the sense of place, that shapes us.”53

The theological experience of art in museums then is to receive an embodied, physical interpretation of cultural values.54 Experiencing art in person, in situ, inside a museum encourages the visitor to attend to the world as it is and to recognize what cultural liturgies may be informing her imagination.55 Art experienced in person is an embodied experience that resonates with a Christian anthropology of humans as “liturgical animals.” Cultural liturgies which call for our attention, shape our devotions. Like Mary Oliver’s garden or Father Capon’s onion, might the experience of art in museums make space for attention in the midst of this distracted, digital age?


    1. Mary Oliver, “Upstream,” in Upstream: Selected Essays (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2019), 8. 

    2. Oliver, “Upstream,” 5.

    3. Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (New York, NY: Modern Library, 2002). 

    4. T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton,” in Four Quartets (London: Faber & Faber, 2019).

    5. Jim Richardson, “How Museums Are Using Augmented Reality,” MuseumNext, August 11, 2022,

    6. Emma Coffield, Rhiannon Mason, and Alistair Robinson, Museum and Gallery Studies (London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018), 56.

    7. “Museum, n,” OED Online, Oxford University Press, March 2022, accessed June 7, 2022,

    8. Coffield, Mason, and Robinson, Museum and Gallery Studies, 56.

    9. This subject has been traced by art historians like Owen Hopkins and Paul Oskar Kristeller and will not be dealt with directly within this paper as it is outside of the direct purview of my argument. See Owen Hopkins, The Museum: From Its Origins to the 21st Century (London, England: Frances Lincoln, The Quarto Group, 2021) and Paul Oskar Kristeller, Renaissance Thought 2: Papers on Humanism and the Arts (New York: Harper & Row, 1965).

    10. Hopkins, The Museum, 17.

    11. Sheila Watson, Museums and Their Communities (New York: Routledge, 2009), 1.

    12. “The ICOM Advisory Council Selects the Museum Definition Proposal to Be Voted in Prague,” International Council of Museums, accessed June 24, 2022, 

    13. Zachary Small, “A New Definition of ‘Museum’ Sparks International Debate,” Hyperallergic, August 19, 2019,

    14. “The ICOM Advisory Council Selects the Museum Definition Proposal to Be Voted in Prague.” 

    15. Watson, Museums and Their Communities, 1.

    16. Watson, Museums and Their Communities, 1. 

    17. Hopkins, The Museum, 32.

    18. Megan Johnston, Paul Seawright, and Elizabeth Crooke, “Curating in Context: Slow Curating as a Reflective Practice” (dissertation, Belfast School of Art, 2021).

    19. Johnston is just one of the many museologists currently studying this trend toward socially engaged museum practices. See Laura Raicovich, Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2022).

    20. Hopkins, The Museum, 7.

    21. Adrian Murphy, “Digitising Collections—Breaking through the Museum Walls and Opening up Collections to the World,” Museums + Heritage Advisor, accessed June 24, 2022, 

    22. “What Does It Mean to Be Human in the Digital Age—Surviving or Riding the Digital Age?” Museums + Heritage Advisor, accessed June 24, 2022, 

    23. Kate Mirand Calleri, “Changing How They See,” American Alliance of Museums, May 2, 2022,

    24. Calleri, “Changing How They See.” 

    25. Calleri, “Changing How They See.”

    26. Calleri, “Changing How They See.”

    27. “AAMC Foundation Professional Practices for Art Curators in Non-profits,” accessed June 24, 2022,

    28. Coffield, Mason, and Robinson, Museum and Gallery Studies, 59.

    29. Raicovich, Culture Strike, 15–18. 

    30. Raicovich, Culture Strike, 19.

    31. Former director of the Queens Museum in New York Laura Raicovich explores the issues museums face in what she terms the “Age of Protest” in her book, Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest.

    32. “The ICOM Advisory Council Selects the Museum Definition Proposal to Be Voted in Prague.”

    33. Hopkins, The Museum, 32–33.

    34. One example of such an exhibit is “Rupture No 1: blowtorching the bitten peach,” shown at the Tate Britain. For more information see “Heather Phillipson: Tate Britain,” Tate, accessed August 13, 2022, 

    35. Jacoba Urist, “A New Way to See Art,” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, June 10, 2016,

    36. “What Does It Mean to Be Human in the Digital Age?”

    37. Alain De Botton, “Should Art Really Be for Its Own Sake Alone?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, January 20, 2012, 

    38. Jeremy Begbie, Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts (London: Continuum, 2006), 257.

    39. Begbie, Voicing Creation’s Praise, 257.

    40. Cameron J. Anderson, “Being Modern,” in God in the Modern Wing: Viewing Art with Eyes of Faith, ed. G. Walter Hansen and Cameron J. Anderson (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2021), 1.

    41. James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 40.

    42. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 40.

    43. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 40.

    44. Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 24.

    45. This argument is widely accepted across curatorial practice. Terry Smith writes, “The exhibition—in this expanded, extended sense—works, above all, to shape its spectator’s experience and take its visitor through a journey of understanding that unfolds as a guided, yet open-weave pattern of affective insights, each triggered by looking, that accumulates until the viewer has understood the curator’s insight and, hopefully, arrived at insights previously unthought by both.” See Terry Smith, Thinking Contemporary Curating (New York: Independent Curators International, 2012), 35.

    46. “Churchill and the Commons Chamber,” UK Parliament website, accessed June 24, 2022,

    47. “Home,” Room 205.10 | Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, accessed June 24, 2022,

    48. “Attendance at the Rijksmuseum 2020,” Statista, May 4, 2022,

    49. Jennifer Allen Craft, Placemaking and the Arts: Cultivating the Christian Life (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2018), 173.

    50. Craft, Placemaking and the Arts, 173.

    51. Craft, Placemaking and the Arts, 173.

    52. Hopkins, The Museum, 33.

    53. Craft, Placemaking and the Arts, 17.

    54. Watson, Museums and Their Communities, 1. 

    55. Craft, Placemaking and the Arts, 21. 

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