Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Sanchita Balachandran
Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum

"Divine and Ghostly Things: Debating the Care of Religious Relics at the Madras Government Museum"

What if the objects behind glass cases in museums were not mere things, but living beings and spectral presences that require active physical and cultural care, even veneration? Archival evidence from the Madras Government Museum in India shows how, in the early 20th century, this view of religious images and relics as living things shaped the practices of museum scholars and staff, government officials, and Hindu and Buddhist devotees. Sanchita Balachandran will describe this intriguing period in the Museum’s history, and consider its implications for contemporary museums and their mandate to store and care for things/beings?

Cosponsored by the Department of History of Art and Mellon/Penn/Philadelphia Museum of Art Object-Based Learning Initiative.

For more information, visit:

The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace and Richard and Ronay Menschel Gifts, 1997