Church History Museum
The Church History Museum underwent a year-long renovation and reopened to the public on September 30, 2015. A focal point is the new exhibit, The Heavens Are Opened, which focuses on how the hand of God guided the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith and others.
Reid L. Neilson, assistant Church historian and recorder and managing director of the Church History Department, said that “The goal of the Church History Museum is to build the faith of the next generation of Latter-day Saints and to help others outside of our faith understand our history.” He also noted that each new generation asks different questions of Latter-day Saint history, and the changes in the museum are for a tech-savvy generation.
The renovation allows the museum to "portray a deeper and richer history but also to display more artifacts from that era than ever before." The Heavens Are Opened features more than 30 elements that visitors may open, peek into, listen to, watch, turn, or handle, including a life-sized replica of Liberty Jail, type set from a printing press, touch screens—continuing the museum's emphasis on interacting with visitors of all ages. The Centerpiece to this renovation is a 220-degree Vision Theater, which allows our visitors to feel as if they’re in the Sacred Grove watching the First Vision unfold. Tickets for this theater are available to guests on the day of their visit to the museum and are on a first-come-first-served basis.
Previous highlights seen in the museum are expanded. For example, after examining early Book of Mormon-related documents and images of a seer stone, visitors can sit at a small desk and use modern technology to attempt to be a scribe.
An exhibit of the contributions of women in church history and the organization of the Relief Society, which is now considered one of the largest women’s organizations in the world, is part of the renovations.
One of the most intriguing art displays in the museum features artwork from Latter-day Saints around the world. The artwork is submitted as a part of an international art competition the museum sponsors every three years. The gallery and displays offer visitors a chance to see religious viewpoints from all over the world.
The museum address is 45 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, just across the street from Temple Square. It is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, most holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays, New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Admission is free, and forty-minute tours are available if desired. Patrons may also see the exhibits at their own pace.