Memorable Year Expected at BYU Museums

Contributed By By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 9 January 2014

A Utah State dinosaur at left and Camptosaurus at right on display at BYU’s Museum of Paleontology.  Deseret News file photo.


The year 2014 promises to be a historic, exciting period inside the diverse array of museums on the campus of Brigham Young University.

A wide assortment of exhibits promises to educate, enlighten, and even inspire visitors to the BYU Museum of Art, the Monte L. Bean Museum, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, and the BYU Museum of Paleontology.

All of the museums are located on campus and offer free exhibits that serve BYU students and faculty, as well as the vast crowds of people who visit the Church-owned university each year.

• The BYU Museum of Art continues to be a can’t-miss locale for students and visitors alike.

The highlight of the museum in 2014 will be the ongoing Sacred Gifts exhibition, showcasing the Christ-themed artwork of European masters Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann, and Frans Schwartz.

The Sacred Gifts exhibit includes several works that are familiar to a broad Latter-day Saint audience. Many paintings, such as Carl Bloch’s iconic Sermon on the Mount, have been utilized for decades in Church lesson manuals, magazines, and other publications.

Most of the exhibition’s two dozen paintings, capturing moments from the life of Christ, had never before been on view in the United States.

Folks who viewed Sacred Gifts in 2013 would be wrong to assume the exhibition offers nothing new in 2014. While most paintings on display will be on view for the entirety of the show, the eight Carl Bloch paintings on loan from Denmark’s Frederiksborg Castle are being shown only four at a time.

The second round of four paintings is expected to be unveiled in late February.

Sacred Gifts is free of charge, although visitors must reserve a ticket for a specific date and time by visiting The show runs through May 20, 2014.

An ongoing exhibition of paintings showcasing the crossroads of modernism and the American Southwest will also continue at the BYU Museum of Art through July of 2014. Simpler, Brighter, Stronger features a selection of early 20th-century paintings representing the influence the European modernists had on artists approaching the intensity of America’s Southwest.

Carl Bloch’s Sermon on the Mount, 1877, courtesy of the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle; Hillerod, Denmark. Photo courtesy of the BYU Museum of Art.

A major photography exhibition celebrating the work of survey photographer Timothy O’Sullivan will open later this month and run through May 26.

O’Sullivan is known for his photos of the American Civil War and the vast landscapes of the American West.

• Patrons of the Monte L. Bean Museum of Natural History are looking forward to the reopening of the family-friendly facility in the spring of 2014.

The museum closed in 2012 for a major renovation that will allow more of its rich collection to be displayed. The reconstructed museum will also provide much-needed expanded research space for staff and students.

A highlight in the renovated museum will be a wing honoring President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and an amateur wildlife artist. Several of the Apostle’s bird woodcarvings will be on permanent display inside the Monte L. Bean Museum.

Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures is located in Allen Hall on the school's Provo, Utah, campus. Photo by Jason Swensen, Deseret News.

• An exhibition celebrating the rich heritage of the Ute Indians of northeastern Utah will likely attract many new visitors in 2014 to BYU’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures.

Nuchu: Voices of the Utah People includes items collected around the Vernal, Utah, area that work together to tell the story of the Ute people and their distinct history.

The exhibition also supports the museum’s mission to train BYU students who plan to become museum professionals.

“Students have combed through hours of interviews and texts, collaborated on the design of the galleries, and built the displays,” said Kari Nelson, the museum’s curator of education, on the museum’s website

• Buffs of ancient history (think the Jurassic period) can still find much to discover in BYU’s Museum of Paleontology.

Located immediately west of the Lavell Edwards football stadium, the museum is especially popular with children and includes the rock and dinosaur fossils collected by BYU paleontologist James A. Jensen and his crews.

The museum provides research labs and training to BYU students and remains a field trip destination for thousands of schoolchildren each year.