SOUTH BEND, Ind. – For football fans, he is known as Touchdown Jesus. For students of the University of Notre Dame, this is the Hesburgh Library, and for some, it is the home of history!
Nestled at 7e floor of the Hesburgh Library, through rows of books, you can find the Medieval Institute. The institution was founded in 1946 by Father Philip Moore. Since then, it has been the oldest and largest center in the United States dedicated to the study and teaching of all aspects of medieval culture.
“But over the years, especially over the past 25 years, the area we studied has expanded far beyond Latin Europe, to also include the Middle East and the Arab Middle East and Islamic, so in Notre-Dame we have the largest collection of scholars studying the Middle Ages, ”says Thomas E. Burman, professor of history and Robert M. Conway director of Medieval
This year is the 75e anniversary of the institute, and with these 75 years came a year of “firsts! Throughout the football season, the institute has hosted home game day events for students and community members to join in the fun of the Middle Ages.
“Our events were designed to show how medieval arts and practices are still used by artists today,” says Annie Killian, humanities research fellow at the Medieval Institute.
Past events have included learning to blacksmith, hawks, poetry and all of the crafts that have developed through the ages. But for the Halloween weekend game, things get… scary.
“You get a lot of these stories because the doctrine of purgatory developed in medieval times, so living people are concerned about their deceased family members and may be waiting to pass through purgatory,” says Killian. .
Saturday’s match against UNC kicks off with the institute throwing a Halloween party! Visitors can decorate pumpkins, but most of all hear ghost stories! Some stories date from the Middle Ages, others are just about them. Families can take advantage of a little scare for their game day festivities. The institute hopes that this participation and exposure to the community will continue.
“We want to share this knowledge, we love this study period and we hope more people will be interested in it as well,” Killian said.
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