More than 50 years of dreams were realized Wednesday with the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Calling the museum "a new and beautiful jewel added to this (BYU's) campus," President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remarked, "It's a wonderful thing, a truly wonderful thing."President Hinckley, who is also first vice chairman of the BYU Board of Trustees, spoke and gave the dedicatory prayer.
BYU President Rex Lee said the new edifice would enhance all the academic programs offered at BYU as well as those at local public schools and centers of higher learning.
Museum Director James Mason, who spearheaded the drive to finance and construct the $15 million building, spoke on the quality of the exhibits as well as the building itself.
He became emotional when he quoted an anonymous saying: "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
Mason received a standing ovation at the end of his remarks.
The museum covers 100,000 square feet and was financed entirely by private donations. Approximately 1,400 people contributed to the museum.
Lee, in praising the museum, said, "We have an art museum to match the quality of our collection."
After the speeches, President Hinckley used a pair of 2-foot wooden scissors to officially cut the ribbon and open the Museum of Art.
Also in attendance were Janette C. Hales, general president of the Young Women organization and a member of the Board of Trustees, and Elder Henry B. Eyring, commissioner of education for the church's educational system and member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy.
Provo Mayor Mike Hill, Orem Mayor Stella Welsh and the Rev. Garrett Edmunds of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church also attended.
An Etruscan display, the museum's inaugural exhibit, opens Monday, Oct. 18. It contains 178 pieces from the Vatican's Gregorian Museum.
The Etruscans preceded the Romans and passed on much of their technology to the Roman culture.
More than 700 people attended the dedicatory ceremonies. There was overflow seating in the Pardoe Theatre in the Harris Fine Arts Center and in the Varsity Theatre and Little Theatre in the Ernest L. Wilkinson Center.