Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
January 15, 2001
Museum curator enthused by Anno Domini success
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — The more than 110,000 people who toured the Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries exhibit was proof that Jesus has become more publicly accepted, said David Goa.
Goa, curator for the Provincial Museum of Alberta is "very, very happy" with the success of the exhibit which ran Oct. 7, 2000 to Jan. 7, 2001.
"(One hundred and ten thousand visitors) is no mark of success. This is the most popular exhibit for the museum in a long time. . . . I have never seen an exhibit that encourages people to talk and think like this one."
From Dec. 20 to the exhibit's final day, there were about 3,000 visitors daily.
Exhibits of this nature are far and few between in North America. Goa said he doesn't recall an exhibit totally dedicated to Jesus in past years.
Goa was pleased with the comments he received, particularly from religious people who realized their image of Jesus or the image of Jesus that their Church holds is relatively small considering the impact he has had over the last 2,000 years.
In early November, the museum was criticized by the Alberta Association for Community Living, for the inclusion of Robert Latimer in the 15-minute introduction video at the entrance of the exhibit.
Latimer, the Saskatchewan farmer convicted of killing his 12-year-old severely handicapped daughter, was highlighted under the heading Blessed are the Merciful. The video was edited to exclude Latimer's photo, however, the story of his action remains.
Goa added his purpose of the entire exhibit was to "give layers and layers for people to chew on." And he felt a sense of accomplishment when he saw how visitors engaged themselves in the artwork.
"In most museum exhibits, people spend less than half an hour, 20 minutes," said Goa. "In this exhibit people spent four hours - and some of them came back.
"Museums have been dumbing down their exhibit . . . they're all entertainment."
Goa was also pleased when visitors requested additional reading material on the theme.
Goa said museums and art galleries worldwide have been shy about putting on such an exhibit.
"I call it the great censorship," he said adding that when the theme of Jesus is showcased, it is "reduced to history; they reduce it to aesthetics."
Although Anno Domini was set up as a travelling exhibit, Goa said there are no immediate or definite plans to showcase the exhibit in other museums, but there have been inquiries.
"The future (of the exhibit) is in the hearts and minds of people."
He added, it will be up to the Provincial Museum and other museums whether there will be future showings of the exhibit.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.