A Happy and Thankful Life

tour and friends

This morning marked the end of the conference. As I wrote yesterday, my first conference experience has been a positive one. I’m looking forward to working with certain museum professionals for next year’s conference but also to continue to learn more.

At the end of the last session, a co-worker and I ran up to the Baltimore Basilica for the scheduled tour. The Basilica has a commanding presence when you first walk up. From the street we came up, this is what we saw.

Baltimore Basilica - personal picture

 This picture doesn’t do it justice. If I had a better camera than my cell phone, I could have spent all day taking pictures. The inside of the church is stunning. It wasn’t what I was expecting as I tend to think of older Catholic churches having a more gothic style. This one doesn’t. Thanks to the Architect Benjamin Latrobe, it is considered neoclassical architecture. He is also responsable for the design of the US Capitol building. The Basilica has an open and airy feeling. It felt bright, welcoming and calming. I can’t post all my pictures but they do have better quality pictures available to give a better idea of what this place looks like. Check out the Basilica today.
A kind older gentleman took the two of us and another gentleman around the upper church while pointing out the unique aspects of a Basilica and its importance in the Catholic church. As he started to take us into the crypt, the other gentleman left us and we continued down into the crypt and rest of the church. I’m so glad we didn’t miss it. Our guide proceeded to explain that under the church, where we were standing, used to be covered in dirt. During the renovation a few years ago, they decided to remove the dirt and create a new crypt and undercroft chapel according to Latrobe’s original plans. It is a quiet and peaceful area. The architecture is amazing.

Baltimore Basilica - personal picture

 They discovered a unique use of inverted arches to support the weight of the church. I’ve never seen this before and found it intriguing. All this was hidden by decades of dirt. There is a small museum in the back that reminded me a bit of the St. Peter and the Vatican exhibition I saw during the spring of 2004. There is a strong sense of history and importance when you think of the people and experiences behind some of these pieces.
The tour took longer than expected and I felt bad but K didn’t seem to mind. We were both enjoying hearing about the history and architecture behind the church. He was also kind and saved my butt when I was checking out in the store and realized that they didn’t accept my credit card and I didn’t have enough cash on me. He is far too kind and I’m really grateful. We then checked out the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden.
That is when we realized how late it really was. We rushed back to the hotel so he could get to Penn Station and I could get to the airport for my flight home. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to learn more about this church and the beginnings of the Catholic Church in America. I’m also very grateful for K coming and experience this with me. I find it refreshing to hear his perspective, especially after he visited a few churches in NYC the week prior.
It was a good way to wrap up my visit to Baltimore. I didn’t get to see tons, but I got to see the things that meant the most to me. I’m happy with that.


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