1980
Two New Church Headquarters Buildings Announced
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“Two New Church Headquarters Buildings Announced,” Ensign, Oct. 1980, 75–76

Two New Church Headquarters Buildings Announced

As part of the opening ceremonies of the World Conference on Records August 12, President Spencer W. Kimball announced plans to build a new Genealogical Library and a Museum of Church History and Art. Construction will begin in 1981 on West Temple Street, directly west of Temple Square. Both buildings have been designed by Church architect Emil B. Fetzer.

President Kimball said that the five-story Genealogical Library, containing approximately 136,000 square feet of floor space, will replace the present library in the Church Office Building.

The four-story L-shaped museum will contain approximately 65,000 square feet and “will house the extensive collections of art and artifacts which depict the 150-year growth and development of the Church,” said President Kimball.

Both buildings will have frontages along West Temple Street and will face each other across a landscaped plaza. Entrance to the two buildings will be across the street from the west entrance to Temple Square. Construction is planned to take two years.

The Genealogical Library currently houses records from thirty-nine countries, with more being added regularly. More than 1,024,000 one-hundred foot rolls of microfilm, equivalent to 4,927,000 printed volumes of 300 pages each, and 157,000 genealogical volumes are available for researchers.

During the summer, between 3,500 and 4,000 individuals use the library facilities. In addition, library personnel process some 4,000 letters monthly on genealogical questions.

The new library will have a basement and mezzanine below ground and three stories above. The building will contain 545 microfilm readers and 300 work spaces. The main floor will house LDS collections, archives and indexes, classrooms, a nursery, copying machines, and a typing room. An exhibit room will permit tours to see the facilities without disturbing the researchers.

On the second floor will be U.S. and Canada materials, as well as classrooms. Offices, a cataloguing area, a mail room, a book repair room, and an employee lounge and lunchroom will occupy the third floor. In the basement and on the mezzanine will be records from Europe, Great Britain, and other areas; a computer room; and mechanical facilities to ensure proper temperature, humidity, and lighting control.

The Museum of Church History and Art will feature art and artifacts from around the world and from the earliest days of the Church. The new museum’s director will be Dr. Glen M. Leonard, historian with the Arts and Sites Division.

Preliminary plans call for five principal galleries displaying artifacts, documents, and sculpture. Art by contemporary Latter-day Saint artists will be exhibited as well as works by earlier artists.

In some exhibits, visitors will be able to use the tools of the past and touch the artifacts; in other exhibits, recordings of Church leaders’ voices and sounds from pioneer band instruments will help visitors hear the past. In a small auditorium, people can see special presentations, hear introductory lectures, and participate in other educational activities.

Rotating and traveling exhibits and the loan of objects to other museums will expand the new museum’s ability to show its entire collection, which includes items formerly housed in the Bureau of Information on Temple Square.

Architect’s rendering of five-story Genealogical Library.

Rendering of Museum of Church History and Art.