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Silent stories await the curious browser as the Church History Library reopens February 21 with renovated public spaces welcoming eager imaginations to experience the new interactive features.
The 5,000-square-foot revamping project improved the existing reference and reading rooms but also added a video tour greeting room, an entirely new modern classroom, and donor meeting rooms. An updated multimedia tour and three group presentations integrate priceless artifacts and historical documents into a visual learning experience designed and led by library staff.
“Now we’ve got a space where [visitors] can sit down and see a presentation and learn about the great treasures that we have in the library,” said Keith Erekson, who has served as Church History Library director for the past two and a half years.
The actual physical space remains unchanged, Brother Erekson said, but instead the renovation served as a remodeling of space—a repurposing of spaces—to introduce new social experiences and innovative learning opportunities to the public.
“Our previous space was shelves of books and staff offices, and now we’ve added some spaces to do a little more hosting,” he said.
Groups of 10–75 individuals are invited to go online to schedule a guided tour or a presentation session, each of which is 30–60 minutes in duration.
The library offers the “Restoration of the Priesthood,” “I Am a Woman in the Gospel,” and “Witness the Book of Mormon” presentations, where visitors see items such as a centuries-old Egyptian papyrus fragment from the scrolls Joseph Smith used in translating the book of Abraham.
Visitors can also see an authentic 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, the letter from Liberty Jail that Joseph Smith dictated, and Joseph Smith Sr.’s original priesthood ordination certificate, among other historical items.
“People could see those documents, but now we have spaces to really tell the stories about those documents,” Brother Erekson said, “and answer questions and put things into context and really help people understand and appreciate what they can see.”
To read the full article on the Church News, click here.