Nauvoo, Illinois, was the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith for the last five years of his life. Preserving Nauvoo as a historic site and destination presents several major challenges: (1) maintaining the site for visitors and volunteer missionaries, and (2) continuing the development of its historical accuracy and ambience.
With regard to maintenance, weather concerns such as cold, heat and humidity must be dealt with. Some years, there is flooding when the Mississippi spills beyond its banks. Animals, insects and the care of trees are ongoing needs, as is housing for missionary volunteers.
Several years ago, the Church History Department developed a 20-year master plan of what should be done at Nauvoo as resources would allow. Presently, some of the early steps of that master plan are now evident. These include split rail fences on the borders of grass lots containing live animals.
There are some new historical panels at Montrose, Iowa, interpreting Nauvoo from across the Mississippi River. The regeneration project of the West Grove where Joseph and other church leaders preached is continuing as a long-term project (see “Picturing history: The Nauvoo West Grove Regeneration Project,” published on deseretnews.com on Jan. 23, 2019).
A complete rebuild of the Edward Hunter home on its original site is now underway. There is also the restoration of three extant homes once belonging to Elder Orson Hyde, William Gheen and William Weeks, architect of the Nauvoo Temple. When these projects are completed, they will be incorporated into new tours now being planned. Such tours will be conducted by site missionaries. Compliments to Jenny Lund, who manages the Historic Sites Division of the Church History Department, and all those who labor quietly to keep this remarkable site vibrant and meaningful.