Gretchen Buggeln holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts. She writes and teaches about the intersection of Christian belief and the material world. Her primary research interest is American sacred spaces, the topic of her books Temples of Grace (2003) and The Suburban Church (2015). More recently she has co-edited two books on the interpretation of religion and religious artifacts in museums: Religion in Museums: Global and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2016) and Interpreting Religion at Museums and Historic Sites (2018). She is currently working on Faith in Place, a book defining a vernacular approach to the study of religious architecture.
Before coming to Valparaiso in 2004, Buggeln worked in the academic programs department of the H.F. du Pont Winterthur Museum in Delaware, and she continues to be active in the museum field by reviewing exhibitions and writing about how museums interpret religious artifacts and belief. She recently co-edited Religion in Museums: Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, with Crispin Paine and S. Brent Plate, a collection of essays about the interpretation of religious objects in museums (Bloomsbury, 2016). Buggeln serves on the board of the local Porter County Museum and enjoys teaching classes—such as “Museum History and Culture,” “The American Home,” and a first-year material culture writing workshop—that engage students with local museums, architecture, and artifact collections. She loves field trips!
Buggeln also coordinates the sophomore-level honors course “Word and Image” and teaches additional American studies upper-level seminars such as “American Consumer Culture.” She serves as director of the Valparaiso American Studies academic major and advises the Christ College student arts group.
From June 2015 to June 2017, Buggeln served as president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, a professional organization dedicated to the appreciation and study of ordinary buildings and landscapes. This group of scholars and professionals models the concerns of Christ College: interdisciplinary thought and collaboration, and the application of humanities research and education to help individuals and communities flourish.
Prof. Buggeln holds a BA in history from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from the Winterthur Museum program at the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.
VAF link: vernaculararchitectureforum.org
The Suburban Church link: https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/the-suburban-church
Temples of Grace link: http://www.amazon.com/Temples-Grace-Transformation-Connecticuts-1790-1840/dp/B006QS97YA
Religion in Museums link: https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/religion-in-museums-9781474255516/