Date of Award

11-2010

Degree Name

MA in History

Department

History

Advisor

George Cotkin, Tom Trice, Daniel Krieger

Abstract

Salvation-themed art environments are a roadside rarity, built out of a strong visionary dedication to God, but the sites are disappearing simply because the work is misunderstood. The historiography on the subject is sparse, trending more toward coffee table books with big glossy pictures than real scholarly endeavors, but the consensus among all has been clear. The sites are a valuable part of the recent American cultural landscape, crossing several scholarly fields - art, architecture, and history - and uniting them into a cohesive preservation movement. On a series of trips to visit, see, and experience five of these sites, I began to understand the massive scale that each site required to assemble and exactly what it would take to restore and preserve each site. The preservation goal is not small, but it is not unattainable. There are federal grants, nonprofit groups and localized support committees from which to gather support so that the site may continue to be a piece of history.