U.S.S.R. in Retrospect: Exhibit Examines Life and Religious Persecution in the Former Soviet Union

Feb. 17, 2011
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In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, Baylor University's W.R. Poage Legislative Library and the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society will unveil "U.S.S.R. in Retrospect," an exhibit that features personal stories of religious persecution and artifacts from the Soviet Union, during an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Poage Library.

The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. Special guests will include Dr. Robert Platt, whose collection of Soviet-era political materials is featured in the exhibit; Rev. Michael Bordeaux, founder of the Keston Institute in Oxford, England; and Xenia Dennen, current chairman of the Institute.

The exhibit, which runs through August, provides a cultural window into everyday life and religious persecution inside the former Soviet Union and includes Soviet-era materials from both Platt and the Keston Center. The Platt artifacts include flags from all 15 Soviet republics, pins, stamps, plates, toys, money, and military and political memorabilia. The Keston Center artifacts include samizmat or underground religious publications, printed propaganda from the State, photos, music books and letters from people attempting to flee religious persecution. Visitors also will have maps, timelines and personal stories to help bring context and life to the materials.

The Keston Center was founded in 2007 to house the Keston Archive and Library, which was moved to Baylor University from the Keston Institute in the UK. The Keston Institute, formerly known as the Keston College, was formed by Rev. Michael Bourdeax in 1969. The Center partners with the Keston Institute, "To promote research and encourage the study of religion in Communist and post-Communist societies and the relationship between religion and Marxism."

The W.R. Poage Legislative Library is located at 201 Baylor Ave. on the Baylor campus, with parking available at the Wiethorn Visitors Center or the Dutton Avenue Office and Parking Facility. The exhibit gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit will run until August.

For more information about the exhibit, go to: www.baylor.edu/lib/poage/ussr, or contact Ben Rogers, director of Poage Library (254) 710-3540 or Ben_Rogers@baylor.edu. For more information about the Keston Center, go to www.baylor.edu/kestoncenter or contact Larisa Seago at (254) 710-4647.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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