Church History Library Reveals Treasures

  • April 1–2, 2011

During general conference weekend, the Church History Library will display dozens of historical gems such as manuscripts written by the Prophet Joseph Smith and first and early editions of several books, including the Book of Mormon.

“When people come, they feel a connection with their history, and it’s almost as if they are transported back to the day and time when that event took place, whether it was a manuscript being written or a recording being made.” —Patrick Dunshee, Church History Library manager of marketing and communications

The weekend of April conference, the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, will extract from its vaults some of its most rare and precious historical gems during the third “Treasures of the Collection” open house.

“This is an opportunity for people to see some of the most unique historical items we have,” said Patrick Dunshee, manager of marketing and communications for the library. “When people come, they feel a connection with their history, and it’s almost as if they are transported back to the day and time when that event took place, whether it was a manuscript being written or a recording being made.”

The library, newly built in 2009, has a glass entry that symbolizes that history is open, accessible, and available to those interested in it.

That history is displayed in items like a first-edition Book of Mormon or an original Book of Commandments, the forerunner to today’s Doctrine and Covenants. A returning favorite is a page from the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon.

“We have millions of items, and we try to find different things we think people will be interested in,” Brother Dunshee said. “Some of these are items that people would otherwise never get to see.”

This third “Treasures of the Collection” open house will display objects of general Church history, but it will also focus on historical books, photographs, letters, journals, and minutes relating to the history of the Church in Hawaii.

“Our objective is to have a little specialization in our display each time,” Brother Dunshee said. “That slight focus will change each time and hopefully draw some attention.”

More than 100 historical items will be on display, free and open to the public, on Friday, April 1, 2011, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday, April 2, 2011, from noon to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

After that the artifacts will be returned to the library’s vaults, the most fragile being placed in humidity- and temperature-controlled environments. Some, but not all, of the items will return for future conferences’ open houses. 

The Church History Library is located at 15 E. North Temple Street in Salt Lake City, next to the Conference Center.