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Popular Imagery and Reactions to Missionization from San Agustín to San Francisco

This lecture addresses the nostalgia and romance that has long surrounded the Franciscan missions of America’s Spanish Borderlands. From San Francisco (California), through the American Southwest to San Agustín (Florida), mainstream history has constructed and perpetuated an idealized, romanticized version of the Spanish mission in America – complete with Mission Revival architectural styles and reconstructed archaeological sites that sometimes resemble Hollywood stage sets. This presentation draws upon the most recent archaeological evidence from throughout the Spanish Borderlands to suggest some more historically-appropriate perspectives on America’s mission heritage.

David Hurst Thomas, American Museum of Natural History