While introducing the topic of religion into regular museum tours can be tricky, there are some site histories that require some mention in order to fully understand the influence that faith had on that specific family or event. One such museum that deals with the issue of religion for that reason is Surratt House Museum in Clinton, Maryland, a historic property of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The history of this site is related to the Surratt family and their involvement with John Wilkes Booth in the plots against Abraham Lincoln–first to kidnap and then to assassinate the President. Mary Surratt became the first woman to be executed by the federal government for her involvement in the plots; and her strong Catholic faith plays a significant role in shaping her life from her conversion as a teenager, through a difficult marriage and then the circumstances of her arrest, imprisonment, and execution. This at a time when the Catholic Church was frowned on by many Americans.
During this webinar, Susan Proctor, education coordinator at Surratt House, will discuss the elements of religion that have been incorporated into the history of Mary Surratt and the museum. Barbara Franco, member of the AASLH Religious History Affinity Group and co-author of the upcoming book Interpreting Religion at Historic Sites and Museums, will serve as moderator for this session.
Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and organized by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion.
Historic House Calls are free for AASLH members. Nonmembers can register for $40.