The Museum received a grant from The Lilly Endowment to conduct research into religious identity and spirituality in the context of the public experience of the Museum. The grant funded explorations into ways to improve understanding of religions and foster knowledge and respect for diverse religious beliefs. In the process, the Museum was honored to create a long-term partnership with the Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project, led by Dr. Diane L. Moore.
The Museum and the Religious Literacy Project conducted a graduate seminar at the Harvard Divinity School that explored how to foster practices that advance religious literacy with families with young children and to understand the views of Museum members toward approaching religion in the Museum. Divinity School students also conducted a literature review and a survey to examine the depth of childrens’ and adults’ experiences and curiosity about religion, as well as their comfort and disposition for talking about their world views in public spaces.
The key learning from this work was that religious literacy is well aligned with the Museum’s mission, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, Learning Frameworks, and approach to exhibits and public programs. Moving forward, the Museum will develop multi-faceted experiences that will inspire curiosity, conversation, and foster an appreciation and respect for religious diversity.