75th Anniversary Alumni Lecture with Professor Rachel Koopmans (Ph.D. '01): "Reading, Restoring, and Rearranging a ‘Miracle Window’ of Canterbury Cathedral”


Location: Medieval Institute Main Reading Room (715 Hesburgh Library) AND streamed live on our YouTube channel

Rachel Hands Showing Glass
Prof. Koopmans working on Canterbury Cathedral stained glass

Save the date! Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Medieval Institute with the final speaker in this year's series of alumni lectures. We're bringing Rachel Koopmans, Associate Professor of History at York University, back to campus.

Talk Abstract: From the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, restorers dismantled, rebuilt, and rearranged hundreds of Canterbury Cathedral's medieval stained glass panels, including all of the panels in the cathedral's famous "miracle windows" narrating the posthumous miracles of Thomas Becket. For last seventy-five years or so—the same amount of time the Medieval Institute has been in existence—the miracle windows have stood unchanged. This year, a window which was removed for display at the 2021 Becket exhibition at the British Museum is slated for rearrangement when it goes back into the cathedral. This talk on the miracle window's rearrangement will highlight the enormous changes in restoration techniques and principles, and the equally momentous changes in scholarly approaches to stained glass and to miracle stories, that have shaped the treatment and understanding of the Becket miracle windows from the mid-19th century to the present day.

About the Speaker: Dr. Rachel Koopmans is Associate Professor of History at York University in Toronto, Canada and Associate Fellow of Toronto’s Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. She received her PhD from the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame in 2001. She has written an award-winning book on medieval collections of miracle stories, and is currently engaged in a new study of the Thomas Becket “miracle windows” of Canterbury Cathedral in conjunction with the cathedral's stained glass conservation studio.

This event will also be streamed live, so please join us even if you can't be here in person.