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Church museum commemorates 15th anniversary

SHARE Church museum commemorates 15th anniversary

In commemoration of its 15th anniversary, the Museum of Church History and Art has opened a new exhibit, "Celebration! Of History and Belief."

The exhibit, which opened Feb. 27 and will continue through Sept. 13, includes favorite entries from selected past exhibitions since the museum opened in 1984.Among the exhibit's entries are Minerva Teichert's painting of Mormon handcart pioneers; LeConte Stewart's 1929 oil landscape, "Autumn's Gold"; and an example from Arnold Friberg's Book of Mormon series, "Captain Moroni Raises the Title of Liberty."

Marjorie D. Conder, curator, and Cecile Nugent, co-curator, have included in the exhibit a variety of items, such as an 1840s children's doll made of white kidskin and a ceramic cup owned by Green and Martha Flake, African-American pioneers to Utah.

Artwork in the exhibit includes wildlife painter Nancy Glazier's lifelike portrayal of the millennial lamb and lion, a work titled "Without Any Ire." Also on exhibit are "Ascent," by David Linn; "Pioneer Patterns," by Eric Dowdle, and "Abraham's Sand," by Laurie Schnoeblen.

A quilt, "Kingdom," by Charlotte Warr Anderson; a Santa Clara style pot, "Tree of Life"; a stone carving, "Ute Family," by internationally renowned Native American sculptor Orland Joe; and "Angel Moroni," by Joseph William Billy Johnson of Ghana, done in cement folk art style, also appear in the exhibit.

Other eye-catching artworks include "The Battle of Gog and Magog," by Antonio Madrid Ilendricks of Panama; "Even to the Isles of the Sea," by Fangua Tulsuafu of Tonga; and "Joseph Smith's First Vision," a batik by Hadi Pranoto of Indonesia.

Although it opened April 4, 1984, the Musuem of Church History and Art traces its roots back to the early days of the Church. Efforts to establish a museum in Nauvoo failed, but the Salt Lake Museum and Menagerie was opened in 1869 with John W. Young as its first director. It was located on South Temple Street just east of where the Joseph Smith Memorial Building now stands.

Later, the collection's name was changed to Deseret Museum and was moved several times. For many years, it was located across the street south of Temple Square. In 1918, the exhibits were moved to the Bureau of Information on Temple Square. When the Bureau of Information was razed in 1976 to make way for the South Visitors Center, the collections were placed in storage until the Museum of Church History and Art opened in 1984.

"The new museum has expanded and refined a long Latter-day Saint tradition of collecting, preserving and displaying remembrances of shared heritage and beliefs," Sister Conder said. "The story of the Church's development and growth is told in long-term and temporary exhibits at the museum as well as at Church historic sites."

She said that visitors have found "a varied menu of exhibits" at the museum over the years. The museum has spotlighted rare artifacts, contemporary art, architectural facades, and historic manuscripts and books. The museum offers films, tours, children's activities and outreach programs. It also has a gift shop.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the museum store has published a new art print featuring LeConte Stewart's "Grey Day of Winter," a scene painted in 1931 in Farmington, Utah. The work hangs in the museum's permanent art gallery.

The 4 millionth visitor is expected to enter the museum during the time of the anniversary exhibit. "We're expecting that to happen in early summer, and we're prepared to make it a memorable visit for that person," said Glen M. Leonard, museum director.

Brother Leonard said the 60,500 square-foot facility has attracted nearly 300,000 visitors annually in recent years. "With staffing help from generous Church-service missionaries, the museum is open seven days a week to welcome visitors," he said. "Exhibits and other activities are available evenings and weekends to make it convenient for our patrons."

Hours of the museum, located at 45 N. West Temple, across the street west of Temple Square and just north of the Family History Center, are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays. Admission is free.

Recorded information on tours and exhibits is available at (801) 240-3310.