Church Announces Reopening of Church History Museum

  • 27 September 2015

The renovated Church History Museum features a new exhibit, The Heavens Are Opened, which focuses on how the hand of God guided the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith and others. 

Article Highlights

  • The Church History Museum will reopen on September 30.
  • A new exhibit, The Heavens Are Opened, focuses on how God guided the establishment of the Church.
  • The exhibit features state-of-the-art interactive media with artwork and artifacts.

“The goal of the Church History Museum is to build the faith of the next generation of Latter-day Saints and to help others outside of our faith understand our history.” —Reid Neilson, assistant Church historian and recorder and managing director of the Church History Department

The Church History Department is pleased to announce the end of the yearlong renovation of the Church History Museum. The grand reopening and official launch of the new exhibit, The Heavens Are Opened, will take place on Wednesday, September 30.

The Church History Museum has not had a renovation or exhibit change to this degree since 1987. The previous permanent exhibit, A Covenant Restored, focused on covenants as a way of understanding our relationship with God and covered history from the 1800s to the modern day; in contrast, the new exhibit, The Heavens Are Opened, focuses on how the hand of God guided the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith and others. Artifacts and displays cover key events and inspirational stories beginning with the origins of Joseph Smith, continuing through his visions and revelations, and including other key events leading to the exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois (1820 to 1846). This focus allows the museum to not only portray a deeper and richer history but also to display more artifacts from that era than ever before.

“As museum techniques have changed over the years, audiences of museums have changed as well,” said museum director Alan Johnson. “Every new generation asks different questions of our history,” added Reid Neilson, assistant Church historian and recorder and managing director of the Church History Department. “The goal of the Church History Museum is to build the faith of the next generation of Latter-day Saints and to help others outside of our faith understand our history.” In order to teach this new, tech-savvy generation in a meaningful way, The Heavens Are Opened thoughtfully blends state-of-the-art interactive media with artwork and artifacts. The exhibit features more than 30 elements that visitors may open, peek into, listen to, watch, turn, or handle, including a life-sized replica of Liberty Jail, type set from a printing press, touch screens, and more.

“One very unique feature of this exhibit is the 220-degree Vision Theater, which allows our visitors to feel as if they’re in the Sacred Grove watching the First Vision unfold,” said Johnson. This immersive experience is considered the centerpiece of the exhibit. These innovative techniques provide a much more tangible experience and grant visitors an opportunity to discover and explore Church history like never before.

The Church History Museum encourages visitors to explore these stories and enrich their lives. The Church History Museum is free and open to the public. The museum is located at 45 West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-0902. Doors will reopen on Wednesday, September 30, at 9:00 a.m. MDT. For more information, visit history.lds.org/museum.

The Heavens Are Opened (THAO) exhibit at the Church History Museum.

The Heavens Are Opened (THAO) exhibit at the Church History Museum.

The Heavens Are Opened (THAO) exhibit at the Church History Museum.

The Heavens Are Opened (THAO) exhibit at the Church History Museum.

The Heavens Are Opened (THAO) exhibit at the Church History Museum.