Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
Visitors to the St. Joan of Arc Chapel be warned: this building may have traveled farther than you have. Originally built in the 15th century in a French village near Lyon, in 1927 the chapel was shipped and rebuilt, block by block, to Long Island, New York. It wasn't until 1964 that the building was packed up a second time and carried to its current resting place at Marquette University. You may wonder why this chapel moved so many times. The chapel was abandoned after it was built and only rediscovered after World War I. When it was discovered, it was negotiated to be transferred to the home of Gertrude Hill Gavin in Long Island. Her father, James Hill, was the founder of the Great Northern Railway. This chapel was attached to a French chateau on her estate and in 1962, it was the only structure to survive a fire that ravaged the estate. When Gertrude Gavin passed away, the chapel was bequeathed to Marc Rojtman and his wife. They decided to gift the chapel to Marquette University in 1964. Since it was relocated, this church is the oldest church in Milwaukee.
The chapel has a collection of a number of Christian items that are older than the building itself, and is one of the few collections of antiquities that visitors are allowed to touch. This includes a stone that the French saint supposedly knelt on and kissed before going into battle, which the devout claim is always noticeably colder than the stones around it.
Mass is held at the chapel every weekday, and visitors can take a short, free tour of the chapel between 10:00 and 4:00 on Monday-Saturday, and between 12:00 and 4:00 on Sundays.
Header photo by Wikipedia user Sulfur and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0