“New Museum Exhibit Documents Tabernacle,” Ensign, June 2007
A new exhibit documenting the history of the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square will run through January 11, 2009, at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City.
Coinciding with the rededication of the newly renovated Tabernacle, the display, The Salt Lake Tabernacle: Gathering the Saints under One Roof, looks at the construction and history of the Tabernacle and tells its story through artifacts, pictures, documents, drawings, architectural models, and artwork.
“The story of the construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle is so unique that we pulled out every stop possible to do it justice,” said museum curator Richard Oman. “We haven’t installed an exhibit with this many complex exhibit techniques and messages since our Salt Lake Temple centennial exhibit in 1993.”
Those involved with the planning of the exhibit meticulously gathered artifacts from the Tabernacle during the recent renovation to use in the exhibit, including one of the original floor joists believed to have been used as a support beam for several boweries before being reused in the Tabernacle in the 1860s; original adobe bricks and wall plaster, and various original objects such as square-headed nails, benches, and organ pipes.
But the exhibit doesn’t stop at merely providing visitors with visual displays. Visitors can experience and imagine firsthand what it was like to be President Brigham Young speaking to the Saints by standing at a full-size reproduction of an original Tabernacle pulpit.
Visitors can also take a firsthand look at a replica of the roof of the Tabernacle. A portion of the original roof trusses of the Tabernacle has been reproduced in the museum. Original latticework timbers measuring 10 feet (3 m) deep by 16 feet (4.9 m) wide and 16 feet (4.9 m) high were removed from the Tabernacle to be used in the construction of the replica.
“The full-size roof section is the ‘wow’ part of this exhibit,” Brother Oman said. “Everyone who has watched us construct it has been astonished that we would even attempt to recreate a part of the roof in the gallery.”
For more information on The Salt Lake Tabernacle: Gathering the Saints under One Roof, visit www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum.