The Church History Museum was built in 1984 to help preserve the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The museum is also intended to share the Church’s history with the public through educational exhibits and programs. Originally named the Museum of Church History and Art, its predecessors were the LDS Church Museum on Temple Square (1919–1976) and the Deseret Museum (1869–1918). Its earliest beginnings can be traced back to efforts made in the 1840s to start a collection and establish a Church-operated museum. Today the museum houses an extensive collection of fine art and historical artifacts that tell the story of the faith and experience of Latter-day Saints from the early 1800s to the present.
The museum maintains both permanent and temporary exhibits designed as self-guided experiences. The current flagship exhibit, The Heavens Are Opened, tells the story of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the early nineteenth century. It features an immersive cinematic theater that takes visitors into the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, to be a virtual observer of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s First Vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. It also contains the original printing press used to print the first edition of the Book of Mormon in 1830, as well as plaster-cast death masks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith that are the most accurate surviving likenesses of the first President of the Church and his brother.
While the entire museum is child friendly, some exhibits are geared specifically toward children with hands-on activities and interactive displays.
The museum also has a store with souvenirs, museum art prints, toys, collectibles, jewelry, pioneer-era clothing, music, and books.
Features and Attractions