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Antiquites, Curiosities, and Latter-day Saint Museums

TitleAntiquites, Curiosities, and Latter-day Saint Museums
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsLeonard, Glen
EditorRicks, Stephen D., Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges
Book TitleThe Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson
PublisherFoundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
CityProvo, UT

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Antiquites, Curiosities, and Latter-day Saint Museums

Glen M. Leonard

The collecting of antiquities for institutional uses in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began when Michael Chandler’s four Egyptian mummies were presented to Joseph Smith in 1835. Chandler had been touring the mummies as a traveling exhibition. The Prophet removed the papyrus scrolls for study, and then his wife, Emma, showed the mummies to inquisitive visitors at their home. For a time, Joseph Coe exhibited both the mummies and the scrolls in a rented room in John Johnson’s Inn at Kirtland. The Prophet later transferred custody of the Egyptian materials to his mother, Lucy Mack Smith. She exhibited them at ten cents per view for a time in Quincy, Illinois, in 1839. Five years later, in Nauvoo, visitors were paying twenty-five cents to gaze at these ancient curiosities, displayed in the widowed Lucy Mack Smith’s upstairs room in the Mansion House. The Prophet’s younger brother William obtained the mummies from his mother in 1847 and toured them for a time. Within a decade they were part of a museum collection in St. Louis, and by 1863 they had found their last known resting place in the Chicago Museum.1 This small collection of Egyptian antiquities managed by the Smith family marked the beginning of a museum tradition among Latter-day Saints.

During the Nauvoo years that nascent interest grew and expanded. It soon included both the curiosities of nature and the products of human manufacture, or, as one writer put it, “the great things of God, and the inventions of men.”2 The escalating attention in Nauvoo included more than an attempt to create a collection and find a place to display it. More important, proponents established a way of thinking about museums. Their words and ideas set the pattern of discourse for half a century. Nauvoo discussions defined the educational purposes of museums, established a way to build a collection, and identified the church as an appropriate sponsor. When late twentieth-century advocates sought links with the past to demonstrate a continuity of church support for museums, they referred to the ideas and continued the patterns of the 1840s. From Nauvoo to Winter Quarters to Salt Lake City, notions about the whys and hows of museums contained a mix of secular and sacred worldviews to serve the purposes of education and faith.

The Nauvoo Revelation

In May 1843 Nauvoo’s Times and Seasons published a notice defining museums as part of the religious responsibility of Latter-day Saints. Editor John Taylor followed the brief announcement with an editorial commentary. In it he defined the scope of collecting for the proposed Nauvoo museum and enlisted the help of missionaries in gathering items of every kind from all parts of the earth. The initial announcement, delivered to the editor by one of Joseph Smith’s clerks, was published as follows:

According to a Revelation, received not long since, it appears to be the duty of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to bring to Nauvoo, their precious things, such as antiquities, and we may say, curiosities, whether animal, vegetable or metal[l]ic: yea, petrifactions as well as inscriptions and hieroglyphics, for the purpose of establishing a Museum of the great things of God, and the inventions of men, at Nauvoo. We have just received the first donation at the office of President Joseph Smith. Who will come and do likewise?3

The published announcement raises several questions: Who authored and authorized the notice? What do we know about the recent revelation mentioned as the authorization for a museum? And what was the first donation received at the President’s Office?

On the announcement’s authorship, the Times and Seasons is silent. A third-person reference in the note to “the office of President Joseph Smith” seems to eliminate the Prophet as author. John Taylor’s commentary allows us to conclude only that a clerk in Joseph Smith’s office in the Red Brick Store walked the note a short block down Water Street to the frame building that housed the printing shop and handed it to Taylor or one of his assistants while typesetters mocked up the forms for the bimonthly publication. The carrier may have written the message on behalf of the Prophet. That courier-author may have been Willard Richards, the Prophet’s principal clerk and historian and an apostle since 1840. Other possibilities include another clerk in the office or William W. Phelps, recently confirmed mayor’s clerk and author of a poem about the Nauvoo Temple (quoted below).4 Whoever the scribe, it seems plausible to suggest that Joseph Smith sanctioned the announcement. This would be particularly expected since the note does not refer to a specific museum revelation but rather expands the meaning of an existing revelation on a related subject.5

Because no specific revelation referring directly to a museum is known to exist, we are left to assume that when the author says that a revelation was “received not long since,” this could possibly reach back twenty-eight months to Joseph Smith’s January 1841 revelation on the Nauvoo Temple (D&C 124).6 How did a revelation calling upon the Saints to build a temple (and a hotel) in the City Beautiful lend its divine sanction to a third project, that of a museum? That it did so seems likely because certain language in the temple revelation is echoed in the 1843 Times and Seasons invitation to contribute to a museum in Nauvoo. Ideas from both sources are cited by John Taylor and subsequent museum advocates.

Three ideas in the 1841 temple revelation appear consistently in other revealed instructions for building temples. Because these ideas have an indirect influence on discussions about museums, the parallels are worth noting. Both ancient and modern scriptural texts directing the construction of temples consistently mention (1) precious building materials, (2) the means of gathering these materials, and (3) specially skilled workmen called to assist in the project.

The building materials specified by the Nauvoo Temple revelation include gold, silver, and precious stones; wood from box, fir, and pine trees; and iron, copper, brass, zinc, and other “precious things of the earth” (D&C 124:27). The revelation sets forth a plan to send “swift messengers”7 to instruct the Saints to gather to Nauvoo with these materials for the Lord’s House and “with all your antiquities,” presumably as offerings or for use in beautifying the Lord’s dwelling place. The revelation also invites persons with “knowledge of antiquities”—that is, skills in fashioning precious woods and metals using ancient methods—to help build the Nauvoo Temple (see D&C 124:26–27). It was clear from these instructions that the new temple at Nauvoo was to reflect in its building style, construction, and decoration the temples of earlier times.

As was typical of Joseph Smith’s revelations restoring the practices of earlier dispensations, references to old and rare materials echoed the words and meaning of ancient scripture. King David planned a house for the Lord using gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, onyx, precious stones, and marble. His intent in using these valuable materials for the Lord’s palace was to acknowledge God as the source of all riches and honor, “for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine” (1 Chronicles 29:2, 8, 11). David’s heir, Solomon, realized the plan. Solomon reissued the call for these expensive materials and specified Lebanon as a source for cedar, fir, and algum trees. He appointed an agent to collect donations from the people and called for skilled craftsmen to work the precious metals and woods (see 2 Chronicles 2:7–9). Not surprisingly, the Book of Mormon contains a similar reference. Nephi taught his people to work in wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and precious ores. The Nephites built a temple “after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things” (2 Nephi 5:15–16). This scriptural language, ancient and modern, contains a consistency of content applied to temple construction. William W. Phelps summarized the message in a poem, “The Temple of God at Nauvoo,” which begins:

Ye servants that so many prophets foretold,

Should labor for Zion and not for the gold,

Go into the field ere the sun dries the dew,

And reap for the kingdom of God at Nauvoo.


Go carry glad tidings, that all may attend,

While God is unfolding “the time of the end;”

And say to all nations, whatever you do,

Come, build up the Temple of God at Nauvoo.


Go say to the Islands that wait for his law,

Prepare for that glory the prophets once saw,

And bring on your gold and your precious things, too,

As tithes for the Temple of God at Nauvoo.


Go say to the great men, who boast of a name;

To kings and their nobles, all born unto fame,

Come, bring on your treasures, antiquities, too,

And honor the Temple of God at Nauvoo.8

After the martyrdom, the Twelve issued their own more practical version of the call to collect building materials for the Nauvoo Temple. In an epistle in January 1845, they invited “all the young, middle aged, and able bodied men who have it in their hearts to stretch forth this work with power, to come to Nauvoo, . . . to bring with them teams, cattle, sheep, gold, silver, brass, iron, oil, paints and tools.”9

Of interest is the scriptural language used in the call for a Nauvoo museum, including references to “precious things” and “antiquities,” and the use of “swift messengers” to encourage the gathering of the Saints with their treasures. The use of these words in the museum announcement or in Taylor’s appended commentary implies a relationship between the museum notice and the Nauvoo Temple revelation, which can best be defined as an expansion of the revelation’s original meaning. Someone, with or without the Prophet’s direct influence, extrapolated a meaning from the revelation that added a museum to the divine call for a temple and a hotel.10

One way the note broadens the meaning of the revelation is by adding its own classifications to references to “antiquities” and “precious things.” The note writer adds: “and we may say, curiosities, whether animal, vegetable or metal[l]ic: yea, petrifactions as well as inscriptions and hieroglyphics.” The temple revelation does not mention curiosities—let alone petrified specimens—or ancient writings. The note’s author admits to the expansion. It is not the Lord who says “curiosities.” It is the note’s author (the editorial we) who adds “curiosities.” The author does so with the presumptive “we may say.”

A second pointer toward the temple revelation is the way the note makes the revelatory call for a museum tentative. “According to a Revelation, received not long since,” the note begins, “it appears to be the duty of the members” to contribute toward a museum. The tentative words “it appears to be the duty” could be read as an admission that the museum project is an expansion on the original intent of the cited revelation, which called the Saints to gather to Nauvoo and to bring with them their antiquities and precious metals, woods, and stones for use in the temple.11

The Times and Seasons notice carries the title “To the Saints among All Nations,” giving it the weight of a proclamation. The title serves in addition as the heading for Taylor’s editorial comments, which follow immediately without a typographical break. His expansive emendations fill two and one-half pages of the newspaper. First, Taylor offered his own detailed list of things to collect for the proposed Nauvoo Museum. His suggestions reflect museum collecting practices of the times with a hint of Mormon revelatory approaches to knowledge. He asked for

every thing new and old, ancient and modern, antique, fanciful and substantial—indeed any thing and every thing that has a tendency to throw light upon ancient nations, their manners, customs, implements of husbandry and of war, their costume, ancient records, manuscripts, paintings, hieroglyphics, models of any new invention in the arts and sciences, any thing that has a tendency to throw light upon Geology, Mineralogy, Anatomy, Philosophy, Mechanics or any thing that is calculated to enlighten the mind, enlarge the understanding, gratify the curiosity, and give general information.12

Taylor’s list reads like a catalog of a typical nineteenth-century museum with its cabinet (square room) filled with curiosities. Also in concert with his times, Taylor intended the proposed collection to serve an educational purpose.13 Learning was consistent with Joseph Smith’s 1832 revelation counseling Latter-day Saints to seek knowledge “of things . . . in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been . . . and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms” (D&C 88:78–79).14 Other revelations similarly counseled the Saints both to seek for spiritual light and to become acquainted with secular knowledge “for the salvation of Zion” (D&C 93:53; and see Topical Guide: Education). Whereas the museum’s collection was to enlighten and inform the patrons about ancient cultures and modern sciences for their own temporal and spiritual salvation, the antiquities gathered to adorn the temple were to glorify God and acknowledge his creation and ownership of all things (see 1 Chronicles 29:12–16).

Taylor’s commentary revealed a special interest in museums, enhanced by his recent travels as a missionary in Great Britain. Drawing from protracted notes made during a visit to the Mechanics Institute in Liverpool in July 1840, he viewed the extensive collections of that institution as an example of Nauvoo’s potential as a great city and as a repository of collections and knowledge.15 The specimens he saw in Liverpool had caused him to reflect on the rise and fall of nations. “We expect that ere long Nauvoo will be the great emporium of the west,” Taylor concluded, “and take the lead in the arts, sciences, and literature, as well as in religion; . . . it only requires a little exertion on our part, to make a museum or repository of this kind, to exceed any thing on the western continent, and in the world.” A knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of ancient empires, he reasoned, would allow the old men of modern Israel to become wise and permit the young men to learn knowledge from them.16

In an echo of the temple revelation, Taylor suggested further that the church’s own network of swift messengers could facilitate the collection of artifacts. He admitted that he was issuing the call without conferring with President Smith. The church, he noted, was already sending “men of intelligence to every nation under Heaven, and to every clime” as missionaries. Taylor advised the elders to send the collected items directly to the Prophet.17

Perhaps Taylor knew that it was a missionary who had prompted the note from the President’s Office. “We have just received the first donation at the office of President Joseph Smith,” the note said, adding, “Who will come and do likewise?” The first donation consisted of curiosities—in the animal category—suitable for a relic hall (but not a temple). Addison Pratt was the donor. Ordained a seventy by Brigham Young the preceding day and set apart as “a swift messenger to the nations of the earth” to serve a mission to the Society Islands (Tahiti), Pratt offered relics accumulated during his time as a whaler in the 1820s.18 According to a notation made by Willard Richards in the Prophet’s diary on Wednesday, 24 May 1843,19 “Elder Addison Pratt . . . presented the tooth of a whale, coral, Bones of an Albatros[s’] wing and skin of a foot, Jaw Bone of a porpoise, [and] tooth of a south sea seal as a beginning for a Museum in Nauvoo.”20

It seems highly unlikely that Addison Pratt had delivered the souvenirs in response to the 1841 revelation’s appeal for “precious stones” and “antiquities” to adorn the temple. Pratt’s bones and teeth from the South Seas did not qualify for either of those categories. Readying himself for a lengthy missionary journey, he probably merely wanted to unload his whaling souvenirs. He took them to the President’s Office seeking a custodian. Whatever Pratt’s intent, someone in the office accepted the donation and responded with the public announcement expanding the revelation’s definition of collectibles and their uses to include curiosities for a museum. Not suited for use in building or decorating a temple, these oceanic relics may have prompted an extrapolation to justify a new “temple of learning,” that is, a “house of the muses,” or museum. The expansion made sense anciently and in Nauvoo. The temple, the museum, and the library—all places of learning—shared common roots and a common place in the ancient world, where sacred texts in the temple library and the collection of sacred treasures were an integral part of the worship and learning that took place in the temple. The influence of the temple as the center of learning expanded outward to influence all aspects of learning in society.21 As noted above, Nauvoo’s missionaries were enjoined to gain knowledge of peoples and cultures. The Nauvoo Temple would become a place of learning for the Saints. And the Lord had designated the temple as a sacred repository for the records of the dead (see D&C 127:9; 128:1–7).

The message in the published call for a Nauvoo museum, including the idea that the proposal enjoyed divine sanction, was not lost on museum advocates in Nauvoo, or later. Apparently, no one challenged the idea set forth in the note that an unspecified revelation appeared to obligate the Saints, and particularly the missionaries, to become adjunct curators for a church-encouraged museum. Unrecorded information—perhaps earlier conversations between Joseph Smith and his associates—may have reinforced the notion that the Lord had sanctioned the call through his prophet. The idea was consistent with President Smith’s revelations on learning (see D&C 88:77–80, 118; 90:15; and 93:53), his reputation as a translator of ancient records, and his mother’s stewardship over the Egyptian mummies and records.

The next known reference to antiquities in Nauvoo appeared the following spring in a law proposed by Joseph Smith. It was drafted by his chief clerk, Willard Richards, the probable scribe for the museum note. The Prophet submitted his legislation to Congress in April 1844. The proposed ordinance would have authorized Lt. Gen. Joseph Smith to enlist one hundred thousand soldiers to defend immigrants headed for Texas and Oregon. Nauvoo’s leaders knew of scientific surveys of the American West by military explorers such as John C. Frémont. Their understanding of federally sponsored expeditions no doubt influenced the bill’s draftsman to propose an educational role for the army volunteers. Besides their principal military task of protecting immigrants, the soldiers would “search out the antiquities of the land, and thereby promote the arts and sciences, and general information.” The bill, which failed to interest Congress, did not mention a repository for the proposed collections, but other government scientific explorers returned their findings to Washington.22

In similar language, in December 1844, Amasa M. Lyman alluded to the church’s collecting interests in a discourse at the dedication of the Seventies’ Hall. Following John Taylor’s example, he admonished the seventies to use their callings as messengers to every land to “gather many antiquities, with various books, charts, etc.” These were intended for deposit with the Seventies’ Library and Institute Association “for the advancement of art and science, which, with just principles, will go heart and hand unto perfection.”23 The collections were to include library materials, sculpture, paintings, and antiquities. The city council had that month chartered the association to replace another defunct Nauvoo library and to assume the role of a museum.24

The action was appropriate. The seventies had constructed their hall as a place of learning preparatory to missionary service. In many respects they, too, had adopted a temple revelation—one given at Kirtland in 1832 (see D&C 88:118–38)—and had created a School of the Prophets in the Nauvoo Seventies’ Hall to continue the school held in Kirtland and Missouri. It was appropriate that the Nauvoo missionary quorums be the collectors of books and artifacts from around the world, for these materials were intended to prepare quorum members for service among the nations of the earth. It was the missionaries of the church—at Nauvoo, the seventies quorums—who had first been enjoined by revelation in 1832 to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).

From Winter Quarters to the Deseret Museum

Nothing further is known of Addison Pratt’s contributions to a Nauvoo museum, but the idea of a church-sanctioned house of learning remained alive during the migration west. After the exile from Nauvoo, Brigham Young led a pioneer group to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, then returned to the Missouri River. There, with the help of Willard Richards, now serving as his clerk and soon to become his counselor, President Young issued a “General Epistle . . . to the Church . . . abroad, dispersed throughout the Earth” on behalf of the Twelve.25 The omnibus epistle of 23 December 1847 set forth a comprehensive summary of recent events, instructions for migrating, a report of preparations underway in the Salt Lake Valley, and specific counsel. The directive brought together the several ideas about temple building, artifact collecting, and learning that had informed such discussions in Nauvoo. It offered counsel on the future directions for these three related enterprises—education, a museum, and a temple.26

The epistle first emphasized the importance of education for the youth of the church: “It is the duty of all parents to train up their children in the way they should go,” the letter noted with an allusion to scripture (see Proverbs 22:6; see also Isaiah 54:13; D&C 68:25–28; and 93:40). The document encouraged the Saints to use every opportunity available to them to gather up books on education for their children, together with “every historical, mathematical, philosophical, geographical, geological, astronomical, scientific, practical, and all other variety of useful and interesting writings, maps, &c.,”27 from which the church recorder could compile textbooks for students. Though reminiscent of Amasa Lyman’s discourse, the focus of this document was education and the writing of textbooks for children, not the training of adult missionaries. This task drew upon a precedent reaching back to the church’s days in Kirtland. A revelation in 1831 had assigned to William W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery the task of “selecting and writing books for schools in this church, that little children also may receive instruction” (D&C 55:4). It anticipated the creation of the Deseret alphabet readers for children in the 1860s.

The epistle continued with another educational proposal: “We also want all kinds of mathematical and philosophical instruments, together with all rare specimens of natural curiosities and works of art that can be gathered and brought to the valley, where, and from which, the rising generation can receive instruction; and if the Saints will be diligent in these matters, we will soon have the best, the most useful and attractive museum on the earth.”28 The Great Salt Lake Valley museum proposed here would include not only “the great things of God, and the inventions of men,” but a third category, works of art. This had been added mostly through Philo Dibble’s influence, but continued the precedent set by John Taylor and Amasa Lyman in Nauvoo. The epistle became the direct inspiration for the first museum in Utah Territory.

Without further comment on a museum, the letter next encouraged the elders to keep journals and to gather historical information for the church historian. This was consistent with the revelations of 1830 and 1831 calling upon historians and recorders to keep a history (see D&C 20:81– 83; 21:1; and 47:1–4). It reemphasized the role of missionaries as collections agents.29

After offering advice on several other matters, the epistle from Winter Quarters turned to temple building. It invited the Saints to migrate to the new western Zion,

bringing their gold, their silver, their copper, their zinc, their tin, and brass, and iron, and choice steel, and ivory, and precious stones; their curiosities of science, of art, of nature, and every thing in their possession or within their reach, to build in strength and stability, to beautify, to adorn, to embellish, to delight, and to cast a fragrance over the House of the Lord; . . . whether it be in precious jewels, or minerals, or choice ores, or in wisdom and knowledge, or understanding, manifested in carved work; or curious workmanship of the box, the fir and pine tree, or any thing that ever was, or is, or is to be, for the exaltation, glory, honour, and salvation of the living and the dead, for time and all eternity.30

All these commodities, physical and intellectual, reflected directly on the messages of the Nauvoo Temple revelation and its ancient predecessors. Of special interest was the inclusion here of the “curiosities of science, of art, [and] of nature” for use in the temple. While it may appear that museum collecting categories were now influencing the items judged appropriate “to beautify, to adorn, [and] to embellish” the temple, the precedent for such existed in ancient times, and portraits were hung in the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples.31 The epistle of 1848 clearly distinguished between the collecting interests of a museum for the education of children in the valleys of the mountains and the materials needed to build and decorate a temple in the tops of those same mountains for the exaltation of the human race.

Brigham Young, like John Taylor, understood the merits of a good museum. In his missionary travels, President Young had seen museums in London, Boston, and other cities.32 Even so, his endorsement of a museum in the letter from Winter Quarters reflected the influence of a second Nauvoo museum promoter—Philo Dibble. Dibble (again, like John Taylor) was a man excited about the prospects of a Latter-day Saint museum. In July 1848 Dibble revealed his hand at Kanesville, Iowa, in a letter to Orson Pratt and Orson Spencer, missionaries in England.33 Dibble recognized these two men as amenable to his proposition to create a museum that would feature a series of large oil paintings on church history. He credited Orson Spencer with being the first to sustain his “feeble efforts in support of the noble cause of illustrating by paintings the history of the Church.”34 Dibble had already engaged the help of draftsman Robert Campbell and artist William W. Major, both British immigrants. In Nauvoo, they had worked on two canvasses for the series. A martyrdom painting had been finished first and was displayed during April conference in 1845 in Nauvoo’s Masonic Hall. A second work, depicting Gen. Smith’s last address to the Nauvoo Legion, was nearing completion that September.35 Orson Pratt had praised Dibble’s art project and pronounced the images of Joseph and Hyrum Smith accurate. In April 1848, Dibble displayed the paintings in the log tabernacle in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and was invited to continue efforts to create historical paintings that they might be displayed in “a gallery in Zion.”36

“As the importance of the work grew upon me, and it needed a more extensive patronage,” Dibble wrote to his friends, “the first presidency, and the leading authorities of the church were the willing supporters and the hearty co-operators in placing these high objects before the Saints.”37 In other words, the newly sustained First Presidency had endorsed Dibble’s project by inserting a plea for support of a museum in their epistle to the Saints. The Twelve had earlier rejected Dibble’s attempt in Nauvoo to gain possession of two or three of the wooden oxen from the dismantled temple font for his museum. The First Presidency and the Twelve endorsed his artwork project after discussing it in a council meeting. Dibble’s purpose in writing to Pratt and Spencer now was to enlist the specific help of his friends in publicizing his project among the Saints in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and “wherever your influence may be extended.”38 Wilford Woodruff had been impressed with the first two murals and was soliciting support in the Eastern States.39

Later in his letter Dibble alluded to John Taylor’s 1843 statement in the Times and Seasons and once more to Brigham Young’s Winter Quarters epistle, and he added his own list of necessities for the museum. Of the responsibilities of the Saints, Dibble wrote, “God has from time to time, by revelation and by epistle, made it their duty to help by their means and substance in the building up a museum. My object in addressing you is to obtain the necessary materials of glass, nails, oils, paints, &c., to take to the valley for its erection.” He then appealed to the Saints in Great Britain to help him so that “a museum may be established in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, as a repository in which shall be collected from all parts of the earth, specimens of the works of nature and art, to connect with these sceneries.” He wanted the support by fall, and he invited English artists to migrate to Utah to help in preparing the murals. Dibble argued that “by revelation” (a reference to Elder Taylor’s article) “and by epistle” (the Winter Quarters statement) the Saints had been obligated to support his project.40

Although Philo Dibble did not realize his dream, he lived to see others establish a museum in territorial Utah. Even that effort took twenty years. Between 1848 and 1868, a few displays were offered at the annual fair sponsored by the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Association in the Social Hall on State Street. In 1858, for example, the exhibition featured “the sword worn by Jos. Smith ‘in Zion’s camp,’ and a cane used by him. There were also numerous curiosities brought home by the missionaries from the different sections of the earth.”41 During these same years, the tradition of a seventies’ school-library-museum continued. Truman Angell drew up plans for a seventies’ hall in 1851. Four years later the seventies drafted “a constitution for a Library; and . . . a Museum, in which may be deposited all collections of antiquities, relics, ancient coins, philosophical and astronomical instruments, as well as books, maps, charts, drawings, &c., &c.”42 That decade saw construction of the first wing of a territorial capitol in Fillmore and a Social Hall in Salt Lake, but not the Seventies’ Hall of Science.

In 1867 Brigham Young’s twenty-two-year-old son, John W., sought funding from the territorial legislature to establish a museum. He wanted to impress visitors and educate residents with a collection of natural and man-made resources. Young proposed to exhibit “the animals that inhabit the mountains of Utah, with specimens of natural curiosities and native products; to be increased by the addition of specimens of interest from every quarter of the world as fast as they could be obtained.”43 When the legislature rejected his appeal that year and the next, Young created his own private museum. His father furnished its first home, an adobe house just west of the Lion House. President Young’s missionary collection, gathered from around the world by the Lord’s swift messengers, helped get the Salt Lake City Museum and Menagerie launched. (Live caged animals and birds in the yard made it a menagerie.) Assisting in organizing the collection was Guglielmo G. R. Sangiovanni, with whom John Young had traveled Europe visiting museums and zoos. The mainstay in collections development was Joseph L. Barfoot, whose interest in natural history, especially botany, gave the museum a distinctive scientific identity.44

The Salt Lake City museum opened to the public in 1869. Soon known as the Deseret Museum, it became a church agency in 1878 and in the final decade of the century served the LDS College (later LDS University). During this time, the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association encouraged local groups “to collect specimens and maintain cabinets of curiosities in connection with their libraries.”45 The Deseret Museum’s curator offered to help local sponsors catalog their collections, and he invited exchanges between the headquarters collection and the local miniature museums. In 1918 the extensive natural history collections were given to the church university and became known as the LDS University Museum (later divided between the University of Utah and Brigham Young University). The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, who had become caretakers of two intermingled collections of historical artifacts, moved their portion to the basement of the newly built state capitol. The remaining pioneer relics and the archaeological specimens of the prehistoric West moved to a new wing of the Bureau of Information on Temple Square and opened in March 1919 as the LDS Church Museum. That museum closed in 1976 after a long period of meaningful service to church members and visitors.46

At various times during its history the Deseret Museum defined its purposes differently. At first, as a general museum, it touted Utah’s natural and industrial offerings to tourists arriving on the transcontinental railroad and also served local school children. It built a significant natural history collection—including mineral and fossil specimens and mounted birds and animals—and accepted historical items incidentally. Gradually the museum developed an increased role in educating the youth of Zion. At the height of its half-century life, the Deseret Museum’s director was James E. Talmage, a geology professor at the University of Utah and, after 1911, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He served the museum from 1891 until the dispersal in 1918. In 1911 the museum moved to quarters in the Vermont Building, on South Temple Street at Richards Street, its fifth and final home. When the museum opened its handsome galleries, offices, laboratory, and library, Dr. Talmage defined its purpose:

By derivation, the word “Museum” means a home or temple of the Muses, hence a place for study and contemplation. The educational value of museums is now very generally recognized; and institutions of the kind are maintained, some of them on an elaborate scale, by great universities, as also by cities, states, and nations. At the present time museums vie with libraries as factors of public education.

. . . [T]he Deseret Museum . . . represents the sum of the past and is of assuring promise in our future development [as a people]. “In its present condition the Deseret Museum is at once a consummation and a beginning.”47

The professionalization of the Deseret Museum under Talmage’s direction, and its more direct ties with teaching, marked the end of the pioneer museum era and a first step toward an expanding tradition of educational museums for Utah and the church.

Church Museums since 1918

For half a century after the creation of the LDS Church Museum on Temple Square, collections increased in the spirit of the original call for a museum in Nauvoo. With the guidance of directors who operated under a public relations and missionary charge, the museum added artifacts illustrating church history and cultural objects from around the world to demonstrate the spread of the gospel. The children of the founding generation donated relics carried across the plains, while the missionaries brought home mementos of service in faraway places.

The LDS Church Museum was a natural outgrowth to the Bureau of Information to which it was attached. Local quorums of Seventy in Salt Lake City had started the Bureau of Information to help the church tell its own story instead of leaving the task to cab drivers who took tourists around town to see the sights. The local seventies built a small kiosk on Temple Square in 1902 and then expanded into a new bureau two years later. They added a second floor in 1911. The bureau’s first director collected and displayed mementos from around the world. The existence of this collection may have prompted the expansion of the bureau to include the artifact collection from the Deseret Museum. For the next half century, under the supervision of the Temple Square Mission, hundreds of guides distributed literature and conducted tours for an increasing flood of visitors. The purpose of the Bureau of Information and LDS Church Museum was to make friends for the church and preserve the relics of the pioneers and prehistoric Southwest peoples.48

During the late 1930s and again in the mid-1960s, church leaders considered proposals from Temple Square directors to expand the museum’s size. Because of the success of the church’s exhibit at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, attention was given first to the creation of the Visitors’ Center North. It opened in August 1966, employing teaching techniques found effective at the New York pavilion. Over the next decade, the church sponsored exhibits at three other expositions and began building visitors’ centers at some other temples and historic sites.49

In 1969 President David O. McKay and his counselors sent a circular letter to stake presidents in the continental United States encouraging them to help collect items for a newly organized Historical Arts Committee headed by Elder Mark E. Petersen. The letter offered its own version of a list of items of interest to the committee. During the twentieth century, the church had added historic sites and buildings to its list of collectibles for member study and edification. The committee would become involved in restoring and furnishing historic buildings as well as collecting for the church museum.50

Somewhat different from the lists that were offered by John Taylor in Nauvoo and Brigham Young at Winter Quarters, the items mentioned in the 1969 First Presidency letter met new as well as older collecting interests. Reviving the emphasis of Philo Dibble’s days, the circular gave art an important role. This reflected the museum’s newly assigned stewardship in building the church’s small but important art collection. The call included the pictorial with the more traditional artifactual and written evidence of church history: “historical artifacts of significance including books, letters, journals, papers, documents, paintings, sculptures, crafts, drawings, architecture and architectural fragments, photographs, metalwork, carriages, wagons, all household furnishings, handwork, pre-Columbian artifacts, and pioneer memorabilia.” The scope of interest for donations was defined as anything relating to “the culture of the Mormon people from the beginning of the Church to the present time.” Many of the nonartifactual items were destined for deposit in the library and archives of the Church Historical Department, known until 1972 as the Historian’s Office. The remainder would find a home in restored historic buildings or the church’s museum on Temple Square. To help expand historical collection efforts, the letter encouraged stakes in the United States and Canada to appoint historical arts correspondents. These were the curatorial swift messengers of the late twentieth century called to collect the items mentioned in the First Presidency letter.51

The Philo Dibble behind this letter was Florence S. Jacobsen, a member of Elder Petersen’s Historical Arts Committee. In 1973 she would be named church curator and assigned to care for the museum collection on Temple Square and a dispersed fine arts collection. A few years later, as director of the Arts and Sites Division of the Church Historical Department, she would join a revived Historic Arts and Sites Committee headed by Elder G. Homer Durham of the Seventy, who was also the executive director of the Historical Department. The “Arts” in these titles referred to museum responsibilities, the “Sites” to historic buildings and sites.

During the 1970s, the caretakers of church collections revived planning for an improved museum facility to house the church’s growing art and artifact collection. The Bureau of Information and its annex, the LDS Church Museum, closed in 1976 to make way for the Visitors’ Center South. The museum collection went into temporary storage. This marked the physical and administrative separation of the museum function from the Temple Square missionary effort. On 12 August 1980, President Spencer W. Kimball announced that the church would construct the Museum of Church History and Art opposite the Salt Lake Tabernacle on West Temple, with supervision centered in the Church Historical Department.52

In January 1984, shortly before the new museum opened, the First Presidency issued another request for museum contributions. The letter emphasized an interest in art by inviting donors to offer high-quality original art representing “the various national and cultural traditions which characterize the mission of the Church.” Preferred topics, the presidency said, were themes “related to scripture, Church history, religious values, or Latter-day Saint lifestyle,” a subject listing that continues to influence art collecting at the church museum. The notice included an expanded list of acceptable artistic media—”painting, sculpture, watercolor, etching, engraving, stained glass, woodcarving, weaving, basketry, and pottery”—and added other items that the museum’s acquisitions committee would consider: “furniture, clothing, national costumes, historical artifacts and memorabilia of all kinds of significance to the Latter-day Saint Church, also folk art, and the decorative arts, including quilting, lace work and needlepoint. A particular need is for works of art representing outstanding Latter-day Saint artists, living and dead.”53

The collecting interests and objectives of the Museum of Church History and Art were mentioned in comments by the five speakers at dedication services for the museum’s new building on 4 April 1984.54 No longer would the museum at church headquarters assemble antiquities for examination by students and church members; the role of showcasing anthropological specimens had been relegated to the Museum of Peoples and Cultures at Brigham Young University in Provo and was not mentioned at the dedication. In addition, most of the curiosities that once attracted visitors at the Bureau of Information had been laid away on storage shelves. The church museum now specialized in interpretive, educational exhibits featuring church history and art. President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency mentioned these two types of collections in his dedicatory prayer.55

An inaugural exhibit at the museum featured C. C. A. Christensen’s 1880s “Mormon Panorama,” on loan from Brigham Young University. The Panorama offered a reminder to visitors of the tradition launched by Philo Dibble and his artists in Nauvoo of telling church history through art. Elder G. Homer Durham of the Seventy, the executive director of the Historical Department, drew attention to the dramatic scenes with an 1879 quotation from the Danish immigrant artist: “History will preserve much, but art alone can make the narration of the suffering of the Saints comprehensible for the following generations.”56

The closest the dedication speakers came to citing a scriptural sanction for the new museum was President Hinckley’s extrapolation from the Lord’s 1830 commandment to keep a record of important events in church history (see D&C 21:1). To this compilation of a written record, President Hinckley noted, church museums now added “the preservation of examples of the artistic work of [Latter-day Saints] in architecture, furniture, painting, sculpture, music, and other expressions” of God-given talents. President Ezra Taft Benson, then presiding in the Quorum of the Twelve, cited the admonition in the thirteenth Article of Faith to seek things lovely and praiseworthy. Other speakers also used that verse to suggest a theme for the museum’s collecting interests. Perhaps these references could be considered Nauvoo-style extrapolations to support a museum. Nevertheless, for museum advocates in the late twentieth century, the authorization of a museum by present leaders of the church seemed in itself a sufficient revelatory sanction.57

The new museum’s educational role seemed foremost in the thoughts of the speakers that April day. Florence Jacobsen quoted Brigham Young’s dream of building “the best, the most useful and attractive museum on the earth” as an educational tool for Zion’s children. Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve demonstrated his skills as master teacher by using historical objects displayed at the museum to teach a lesson in faith to present generations. President Benson, like Elder Talmage before him—and like most of the dedication speakers—linked past, present, and future. “Our past, after all,” he said, “is our prologue to the future.”58

Little was said of temples during the museum’s dedication ceremonies; the dedicatory prayer lacked any specific long listing of building materials or building parts as had been common in such supplications in earlier years. In his remarks and in the prayer, President Hinckley did link the museum with the granite temple on the square to the east, whose finish the museum’s gray cast-stone facade resembled. The museum, he said, was an appropriate neighbor to the temple and other examples there of pioneer architecture and workmanship.59

During its opening months, the Museum of Church History and Art celebrated the tradition of Latter-day Saint interests in museums reaching back to Kirtland and Nauvoo. It did so with an exhibit called “Church Museums—Past and Present.” The display featured a few old cases from the Deseret and LDS Church museums filled with curiosities for old-time’s sake. Shown were “the great things of God, and the inventions of men”: the tooth of a whale (but not from Addison Pratt’s collection), one of the Deseret Museum’s prized Utah quartz crystals, a stuffed New Zealand king penguin from the Bureau of Information, and relics of early Utah manufacture (the territory’s first nails, glass, and sugar). Not shown were the mummies so popular on Temple Square. These were not Chandler’s Egyptian mummies once shown by Lucy Mack Smith, but rather the Anasazi Indian remains that, with the watch worn by John Taylor at Carthage Jail, had distinguished the LDS Museum’s reputation for half a century. The Four Corners Indian Collection had become part of Brigham Young University’s anthropological study collection in the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. Only a pair of ragged, braided Pueblo moccasins in the exhibit “Church Museums—Past and Present” reminded viewers of the Deseret Museum’s interest in the antiquities of prehistoric Utah peoples.60

After a longer-than-intended showing for the exhibit, these memories of past museums returned to storage. The Museum of Church History and Art turned its attention to a new purpose, that of helping present generations gain a better understanding of Latter-day Saint history from 1820 to the present by examining selected artifacts, art, and documents in an interpretive setting. Its hallmark exhibit, “A Covenant Restored,” celebrates the origins and early development of the church. Changing exhibits tell other historical stories and share collections gathered from around the world with the assistance of members, missionaries, and church leaders. Not unlike its predecessors dating back to Nauvoo, the church museum functions under the supervision of executive directors assigned from the quorums of the Seventy.

Meanwhile, museums at Brigham Young University continue the Deseret Museum’s late-nineteenth-century emphasis on natural history and cultural study collections for students. The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, located east of the Marriott Center, was the first of the campus museums to get a modern building to house its collections and exhibits. The facility attracts students of all ages seeking to understand the natural world. The museum preserves the last of the Deseret Museum’s mounted specimens—a California gull—and continues Joseph Barfoot’s tradition of collecting and documenting botanical and zoological collections.61 The university’s Earth Sciences Museum focuses on dinosaurs and has been housed since 1987 in a temporary facility west of Cougar Stadium. The museum greatly expands an interest introduced in 1912 when the Deseret Museum acquired a replica of the nineteen-foot-long skeleton of a Megatherium cuvieri, a South American ground sloth.62 The Museum of Peoples and Cultures, located at 100 East and 700 North in Provo, offers interpretive displays of native peoples, primarily in the Americas. Its collections include most of the ethnological specimens that had once been part of the LDS Museum displays on Temple Square, including items from the Anasazi burial sites of the Four Corners Region. It serves as the repository for more than one hundred thousand items secured through more recent university archaeological excavations and ethnological collecting expeditions.63

In 1986, the university announced plans to seek private funding to build a new fine arts museum and new facilities for two existing campus museums, the Earth Sciences Museum and the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.64 The Museum of Art was the first of the three to be built. It was created to house and display the university’s collection of paintings, sculptures, costumes, and crafts from cultures worldwide. James A. Mason, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, oversaw development of the new museum; its handsome new facility, adjacent to the Harris Fine Arts Center, opened in October 1993. In his dedicatory remarks, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then first counselor in the First Presidency, mentioned a doctrinal basis for collecting things lovely and of good report. He added that art enriches life and will “cause us more frequently to ponder on the wonder of Him who is our God and our Creator, the Author of all the truly beautiful.”65 Among the museum’s early offerings was an exhibition of C. C. A. Christensen’s “Mormon Panorama” of church history. While the museum generally centers its exhibits more broadly on world art treasures and their historical and aesthetic values, this offering of historical Mormon art from the museum’s collection was a brief echo of Philo Dibble’s early interest in using art to inspire viewers with an understanding of Latter-day Saint history.

As the twenty-first century approaches, the museum tradition begun privately in Kirtland and expanded through the sanction of the “museum revelation” in Nauvoo continues in several church-sponsored settings. Like their forerunners in times past, today’s Latter-day Saint museums offer specializations suited to the education of a new generation interested in the great things of God and the inventions and adventures of peoples worldwide.


  1. See History of the Church, 2:235, 348–51, 396; Linda K. Newell and Valeen T. Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984), 54; James R. Clark, The Story of the Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955), 146–63.
  2. Times and Seasons 4 (15 May 1843): 201.
  3. Ibid. This issue was published at least nine days after the 15 May dateline (see n. 19, below). It was not an unusual situation, given problems with paper supplies, health of workers, and late-breaking news. To complicate matters this particular month, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff had just taken on the editorship of the Nauvoo Neighbor and had published their first issue on 3 May; see History of the Church, 5:380.
  4. Willard Richards began service in the Prophet’s office as the church recorder and historian in December 1842 and is the most likely person to have been present at the time. Other clerks assisting Joseph Smith during 1843 were James Sloan, 1840–43; William Clayton, 1842–44; and Thomas Bullock, 1843?–44. Howard C. Searle, “Authorship of the History of Joseph Smith: A Review Essay,” BYU Studies 21/1 (1981): 104, 108, 111. The city council approved Phelps as mayor’s clerk on 11 February 1843; see History of the Church, 5:270.
  5. The reference to the office echoes the third-person wording of an entry in the Prophet’s diary for the previous day, when Richards wrote, “The Twelve met at Prest J Smith’s office” to ordain six men as missionaries. Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), 380. S. George Ellsworth, ed., The Journals of Addison Pratt . . . (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990), 115–16, takes the account at face value and makes Joseph Smith both the direct recipient of the relics and the responsible party behind the note.
  6. See V. Garth Norman, “Analysis of the Joseph Smith Document on the Nauvoo Museum Project,” introductory comments to a panel discussion on historic archaeology and museums in the Nauvoo era, 41st Annual Archaeology of the Scriptures Symposium, Brigham Young University, 24 October 1992, excerpts in possession of author. Norman checked with Dean C. Jessee, Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at BYU, and the Church Historical Department about the possible existence of a museum revelation. No such revelation is known, nor is a museum mentioned in the revelations not contained in the Doctrine and Covenants; see Fred C. Collier, comp., Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets and Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Salt Lake City: Collier’s, 1979), 1:90–103.
  7. Doctrine and Covenants 124:26 uses “swift messengers” and “chosen messengers” in the same way Isaiah did in his prophecy of “ambassadors” who would be sent as “swift messengers” to gather a scattered people to Mount Zion (Isaiah 18).
  8. Times and Seasons 3 (15 June 1842): 830.
  9. History of the Church, 7:357.
  10. Norman, “The Nauvoo Museum Project,” suggests that Joseph Smith may have seen the museum’s educational role as a tool for accomplishing “the revelation’s directive to gain knowledge of antiquities and other subjects.”
  11. Ibid.
  12. Times and Seasons 4 (15 May 1843): 201.
  13. See Edward P. Alexander, Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1979), 8–9, 11–13.
  14. I am indebted to Norman, “The Nauvoo Museum Project,” for this observation.
  15. See Times and Seasons 4 (15 May 1843): 201–3.
  16. See ibid., 203.
  17. Ibid., 201.
  18. See History of the Church, 5:404, 406.
  19. That the May 24 contribution came nine days after the date on the Times and Seasons issue announcing the first donation is evidence of the late publication of this issue (see n. 3 above).
  20. Faulring, American Prophet’s Record, 380; and see History of the Church, 5:406. The entry was inserted into the Prophet’s history in 1854 by Church Historian George A. Smith. Searle, “Authorship,” 112.
  21. See Alexander, Museums in Motion, 6–7. The word museum, from the Greek mouseion, originally meant “temple of the muses”—home of the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences—and in ancient Egypt, the word referred to the library and research center in Alexandria. Marjorie P. Katz, “Museum,” in World Book Encyclopedia, 1977 ed., 13:777. Thus, Hugh Nibley has observed, “The temple was . . . the center of learning, beginning with the heavenly instructions received there. It was the Museon, or home of the Muses, representing every branch of study. . . . Central to the temple school was the library, containing sacred records, including the ‘Books of Life,’ the names of all the living and the dead, as well as liturgical and scientific works.” Hugh W. Nibley, “Meanings and Functions of Temples,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4:1462; and see Hugh W. Nibley, “What Is a Temple,” in Mormonism and Early Christianity (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1987), 379–81.
  22. History of the Church, 6:276. Copies of Frémont’s report were available in Nauvoo; see History of the Church, 6:375.
  23. History of the Church, 7:339.
  24. 24 See George W. Givens, In Old Nauvoo: Everyday Life in the City of Joseph (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990), 260.
  25. Millennial Star 10 (15 March 1848): 81.
  26. See ibid., 85–86.
  27. Ibid., 85.
  28. Ibid.
  29. See ibid., 85–86.
  30. Ibid., 86.
  31. Besides the use of such things in the temples of Solomon and Herod, Greek and Roman temples displayed votive offerings or booty of gold, silver, and bronze objects, statues, paintings, and sculpture. These treasures served as a public reserve used to meet emergency expenses. Alexander, Museums in Motion, 7. The walls of the celestial room in the Nauvoo Temple were hung with maps, mirrors, paintings, and portraits—including some of the church leaders and their wives. William Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, ed. George D. Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1995), 206, entry for 11 December 1845. Portraits also adorned the Kirtland and Salt Lake Temples.
  32. See History of the Church, 4:239; 7:162.
  33. See Millennial Star 11 (1 January 1849): 11–12.
  34. Ibid., 11.
  35. See History of the Church, 7:390, entry for 4 April 1845; Hosea Stout, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861, ed. Juanita Brooks (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press and Utah State Historical Society, 1964), 34, 56, 60–62; Glen M. Leonard, “Picturing the Nauvoo Legion,” BYU Studies 35/2 (1995): 110–13.
  36. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898, typescript edition, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983–85), 3:340.
  37. Millennial Star 11 (1 January 1849): 11.
  38. Ibid., 12, 11.
  39. See Woodruff’s Journal, 3:334, 338–41, entries for 25 March and 7 April 1848. Dibble had approached the Twelve on the day of the cornerstone laying, 24 May 1845, to obtain the oxen that had been removed about four months earlier. That afternoon the Twelve voted to retain the oxen for the time being; compare History of the Church, 7:358, 418.
  40. Millennial Star 11 (1 January 1849): 12.
  41. New York Times, 11 November 1858, 2.
  42. Robert L. Campbell (not the Nauvoo artist) to Franklin D. Richards, 7 January 1856, in Millennial Star 18 (24 May 1856): 332.
  43. “Deseret Museum and Menagerie,” in Guide to Salt Lake City, Ogden, and the Utah Central Railroad (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Office, 1870), 16.
  44. See Joseph L. Barfoot, “A Brief History of the Deseret Museum,” manuscript, 1880, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, microfilm copy, Marriott Library, University of Utah; and Lila Carpenter Eubanks, “The Deseret Museum,” Utah Historical Quarterly 50/4 (1982): 361–76.
  45. Junius F. Wells, “Editorial,” The Contributor 12 (March 1891): 194–95.
  46. For additional information, see ibid., and James E. Talmage, “The Passing of the Deseret Museum,” Deseret Museum Bulletin, 15 February 1919, 3–4; Eubanks, “The Deseret Museum,” 361–76; and Florence Smith Jacobsen, “Museums, LDS,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:972–73.
  47. Deseret Museum Bulletin, new series, no. 1, 16 August 1911, 1; also in Improvement Era (August 1911): 951.
  48. See Donald L. Enders, “Bureau of Information/Museum, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1918–1976,” research report, November 1982, Museum of Church History and Art.
  49. See Deseret News 1995–96 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1994), 385–86.
  50. See First Presidency (David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner) to All Stake Presidents in the Continental United States, 9 September 1969, copy at Museum of Church History and Art.
  51. See ibid. The historical arts correspondents were phased out gradually after about seven years.
  52. See Deseret News, 16 August 1980, “Church News” section, 3, 6.
  53. Statement of 31 January 1984, in Deseret News, 5 February 1984, “Church News” section, 5.
  54. Copies of the talks cited below and a videotape of the entire program are on file in the LDS Church Historical Department Library.
  55. See Gordon B. Hinckley, “Dedication of Museum of Church History and Art, Wednesday, April 4, 1984.”
  56. G. Homer Durham, “The Museum of Church History and Art Dedicatory Service, Wednesday, April 4, 1984.” The quotation appeared first in a letter from Christensen to editor A. W. Winberg, who published it in his Danish-language newspaper Bikuben (Salt Lake City), 20 March 1879. The panorama is part of the collection of the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University.
  57. See Hinckley, “Dedication”; Ezra Taft Benson, “Dedication of Museum of Church History and Art, April 4, 1984.”
  58. Florence S. Jacobsen, “Dedication—Museum of Church His tory and Art”; Boyd K. Packer, “Museum Dedication, April 4, 1984”; Benson, “Dedication.”
  59. See Hinckley, “Dedication.”
  60. See “Church Museums—Past and Present,” exhibit texts, Museum of Church History and Art.
  61. In 1984, the Bean Museum loaned (and later donated) the king penguin, which bears the Deseret Museum label, for the “Museums—Past and Present” exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art. The other stuffed specimens had deteriorated and been discarded after being stored for many years under the seating of the football stadium. The Deseret Museum’s extensive collection of mineral specimens, collected as samples from Utah mining districts under John W. Young’s supervision and expanded by James E. Talmage, are preserved at the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.
  62. See Deseret News, 19 December 1987, “Church News” section, 5; Sterling Talmage, “A Monstrous Beast,” Improvement Era (May 1912): 615–18.
  63. The Museum of Peoples and Cultures received the bulk of the Deseret Museum ethnological specimens when the Bureau of Information closed in 1976 and additional transfers from the Museum of Church History and Art during the early 1990s.
  64. See Deseret News, 4 May 1986, “Church News” section, 14.
  65. Deseret News, 23 October 1993, “Church News” section, 3–4.