Juggling the Middle Ages
A humble juggler-turned-monk struggles to think of a gift worthy of the Virgin Mary, before delivering a heartfelt juggling performance in front of her statue. If this story seems familiar, that’s because over the centuries it has inspired films, books, even an opera, and has parallels in an iconic Christmas carol. The exhibit follows the tale from its rediscovery by scholars in the 1870s to its modern interpretations in children’s books, offering viewers a look at a vast range of objects, including stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, household objects, and vintage theater posters. This exhibition allows viewers to consider the role of the Middle Ages in the fashioning of modernity—from films rooted in Arthurian legend, to Gothic Revival architecture—through the lens of one powerful tale.