“Remodeled Temple Square Visitors’ Centers Offer Interactive Look at Gospel,” Ensign, Dec. 2001, 67
The North and South Visitors’ Centers on Temple Square in Salt Lake City reopened on 5 October with new exhibits offering visitors opportunities to learn about the Church according to their own interests and at their own pace.
The exhibits focus on basic beliefs of the Church, including the divinity of Jesus Christ, the importance of following His teachings, and the eternal nature of the family. But the means of learning include new interactive exhibits that let visitors explore their own questions. Missionaries continue to be available to give guided tours of Temple Square.
The heroic-size Christus statue is still a focal point of the North Visitors’ Center, as in the past. The themes of all the new exhibits in the building unite to testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and the head of His Church on the earth. On the center’s ground level, for example, visitors encounter a 14-by-14-foot model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. Touching a bar above one of the pictures around the model spotlights the site in Jerusalem where the event in the picture may have taken place, and the visitor hears a recorded message about the event. Restored and new murals on nearby walls depict events from the Savior’s life. Other displays in the building focus on the place of prophets in His Church and in the lives of His followers and on how His followers may live His teachings.
In the South Visitors’ Center, two themes are explored, coming together in the middle of the building as visitors look out at the panorama of the Salt Lake Temple. Those coming into the west entrance of the center will find displays teaching of the importance of the family. Those coming in through the new east entrance of the building will find displays teaching about the temple. Progressing toward the middle, they will find displays that teach about how temples can bind families together forever.
Touch-screen displays and interactive video kiosks are important contributors to learning from the new exhibits. In the “Scriptures and Revelation” exhibit in the North Visitors’ Center, for example, visitors will be able to see and hear video messages from President Gordon B. Hinckley.
The new technologies freely used in the exhibits are meant to ease the way of learning, but the emphasis of the exhibits is still on gospel principles, said Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy, executive director of the Missionary Department. “We hope all people who visit the centers leave uplifted and take away an increased understanding of the Church and of the Savior,” he said.
Each year, some five million people come to Temple Square, one of the most visited spots in the western United States. It is expected that many visitors to the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games will be drawn to Temple Square.