New Museum Exhibit Highlights Relief Society
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“New Museum Exhibit Highlights Relief Society,” Ensign, Aug. 2007, 79–80

New Museum Exhibit Highlights Relief Society

At the organization of the Relief Society held on March 17, 1842, Emma Smith declared, “We are going to do something extraordinary” (Relief Society, Minutebook 1842 Mar.–1844 Mar., entry made March 17, 1842, 12, LDS Church Archives).

The statement inspired the women of the fledgling organization then, and it is now the inspiration for a new exhibition at the Museum of Church History and Art titled Something Extraordinary: A Sampler of Women’s Gifts.

The exhibition celebrates the remarkable fulfillment of Emma’s pronouncement by displaying objects representing the gifts and talents of Relief Society sisters from around the world.

The most historically significant object included in the exhibit is the 1842 minutebook used by the founders of the Relief Society to record the proceedings of its meetings.

The manuscript, titled A Record of the Organization and Proceedings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, contains the minutes of Relief Society meetings held in Nauvoo from 1842 to 1844. Many of the quotes from the minutebook are well known to members everywhere, making it an important document for Latter-day Saint women.

To help tell about the good works of the Relief Society, nearly 60 objects are displayed, including many historical and contemporary works of art, writing, and everyday objects. The exhibit features a print of a painting of Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph and the first president of the Relief Society; music; quilts; cookbooks; and items from around the world created by Relief Society members to help beautify Church buildings.

There is even a Grammy Award in the collection, which was awarded to Gladys Knight, a Church member and successful musical artist. Sister Knight has used her great talents to lift others and expand their talents.

For information on the museum and its exhibits, visit

Quilting followed Church missionaries into many areas where it was not indigenous, such as Tahiti. Ninirei Katomea Tekehu Maro, the maker of this quilt, learned to make quilts from her mother, who in turn learned to make quilts from early missionaries.

In October 2003 general conference, Ann Pingree of the Relief Society general presidency told of women she knew in Africa who walked many miles to receive their temple recommends with no expectation they would ever be able to use them. Since that time, those Saints have seen a temple dedicated in their own land. (Five Wise Virgins, by Louise Parker)