Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture seeks to create a Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA exhibit

By Sister Thea Bowman Guild
WASHINGTON – Teddy Reeves, M.Div., Ph.D., curator of religion and co-interim head of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC is delighted to have obtained one of Sister Thea Bowman’s most popular gowns.

Reeves contacted Redemptorist Father Maurice J. Nutt two years ago inquiring if he had an African gown owned by Sister Thea. At the time Father Nutt did not have one of Sister Thea’s gowns in his possession. As fate would have it, months later, Father Nutt was given a very popular gown worn by Sister Thea from Boston College professor emerita, Dr. M. Shawn Copeland.

With Dr. Copeland’s permission, Father Nutt gifted the gown to the NMAAHC as a way of promoting Sister Thea’s life and holiness to a greater audience. Father Nutt noted, “I think that Sister Thea would love being a part of the first national museum honoring the history, culture, and legacy of African Americans. In my estimation, Sister Thea Bowman is African American history and culture!”

The NMAAHC was also given permission by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to use pictures of Sister Thea for the future exhibit. The museum is seeking to collect other items and artifacts of Sister Thea to make for a more robust exhibition. There is no date available on when the exhibit will debut.

(If anyone wishes to donate items belonging to Sister Thea Bowman to the Smithsonian exhibit contact Father Maurice Nutt at For more information on the Cause for Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman or to donate to the cause, visit