Mission San Xavier is Arizona’s great American place selected by historian Brent D. Glass, Ph.D., in his book, 50 Great American Places: Essential Historic Sites Across the U.S. Dr. Glass, the Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will discuss the Mission at events in Tucson and Phoenix to benefit Patronato San Xavier, the nonprofit dedicated to preserving and restoring the Mission.
Thurs., Oct.11 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix.
The October 10 event in Tucson is sold-out.
Tickets are $20 for members of Friends of Patronato and $25 for non-members. A reception with a no-host bar precedes the talk by Dr. Glass at each event. Questions: (520) 447-8940 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendees will learn more about Mission San Xavier, one of the most important cultural and historic sites in the United States, and why Dr. Glass included it in his book. With foundations laid in 1783, the Mission is the oldest European inspired building in Arizona and finest example of Mexican baroque architecture in the United States.
The idea for the book grew out of a conversation between Glass and Pulitzer-Prize winning author and historian David McCullough. From this, Dr. Glass wrote to promote historical literacy and to encourage heritage tourism and historic preservation. The book explores the power of essential historic sites and how they illuminate core themes in American history.
In his introduction, Dr. Glass writes: “…The book begins with the National Mall followed by when each site achieved its greatest significance. The list is not arranged…in order of importance…” Mission San Xavier is number 13 on Glass’s list. David McCullough writes in the book’s forward: “…the choice of subjects here leaves no doubt that history, so often dominated by politics and war, comprises far more. And so here, also one will find ample reminders of who we are as a people, and why we are the way we are…”
In Dr. Glass’s chapter on Mission San Xavier he writes “…Preservation of Mission San Xavier has been a major concern. In the twentieth century, the diocese launched an initiative to repair damage caused by an 1887 earthquake to renovate the church complex. Since 1978, a nonprofit group, Patronato San Xavier, has sponsored the conservation of the art and architecture of this National Historic Landmark…”
In a 2016 talk on International Museum Day, Dr. Glass said “…historic preservation is not inevitable…it takes human decisions and choices to make history and preserve it…” In 1978, a group of committed community leaders established the nonprofit Patronato San Xavier to preserve and restore Mission San Xavier. Patronato continues to raise critical funds for the restoration, maintenance and preservation of the Mission. Named to the global World Monument’s Fund “Watch” list in 2015, Mission San Xavier remains a working parish and is the spiritual home for many Southern Arizonans. The Mission hosts tens of thousands of visitors annually from around the world. ###