A Comparative Study of Religious Architecture in the Old and New World.

Minnesota Humanities Commission
Marilyn J. Chiat, Ph.D.
Project Duration: 
Sep 1 1999 to Sep 1 2000
Project Description: 

The project researched and proposed answers to questions that enabled people to better understand the "why" behind the appearance of places of worship built by immigrants and their descendants who settled in the United States.

Questions included: How did immigrants decide on the appearance of their places of worship in a new world? Why were certain decorative, religious, and architectural elements replicated in the new world while others were not? What factors led to the choices? What were the causes underlying changes made over time between first and second generation religious buildings? What cultural, social, technological, theological, and liturgical reasons contributed to the choices and later, the changes?

A comparative study of the appearance of places of worship left behind in the Old World with those built in the New revealed what was retained and what was discarded and led to answers as to why choices and changes were made. The study contributed to a more complete understanding of the complexities associated with the Americanization process experienced by all the nation's newcomers.