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For the kids: 5 things you'll find at the new Church History Museum exhibit

Published: Saturday, Jan. 22 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently unveiled a new exhibit at the Church History Museum specifically designed for families.

This exhibit, called "A Book of Mormon Fiesta: A Latin American Celebration," celebrates the extensive Latin American heritage within the church and portrays stories of faithful Latin American members, according to a press release issued by the church.

The first section of the exhibit, “Learn Truths,” depicts stories of ancient prophets found in the Book of Mormon. The second section, “Share Truths,” is a replica of a Latin American home and encourages visitors to share church teachings with others. The third section, “Live Truths,” recreates a Latin American plaza where stories of modern-day Latin American Saints are told.

Following are five things families can expect from the new exhibit:

1. Fun activities for children

Younger children will love to play in Nephi's ship. They can steer the vessel, stack the planks, check the Liahona for directions and fish over the side of the boat. They can also spend time building a temple out of foam blocks. In addition, they will love spending time in a real kitchen with a table and refrigerator. Children can pick fresh vegetables from the garden and tend to the chickens in their coop.

Older children who enjoy interactive dance video games will love dressing up in Latin American costumes and actually dancing to traditional Latin American music. They will also love the computer games that include a maze, storyboards and puzzles.

Other activities include dressing up dolls, writing Egyptian on magnetic tablets, a tortilla toss game, sitting in a car and playing with a fun bike.

2. Book of Mormon stories brought to life

As visitors enter through the drawn-back tent curtains, there's a feeling of stepping into ancient times. Immediately they are immersed in the scriptures, where they can see, touch and feel familiar stories.

As children hop aboard Nephi's ship, they can recount the journey and play with a replica of the Liahona. As they play with the magnet board, they can relive the story of Enos praying. As they build a temple out of foam blocks, they can learn about Christ's visit to the Nephites. They can also see a replica of the gold plates, try to lift them and see how heavy they actually were.

3. Bilingual and cultural experience

The exhibit is the perfect opportunity to either introduce families to another culture or to reinforce what they already know about Latin American culture. As visitors meet the people in La Plaza, Juan, Camila, Rual and others tell inspiring stories of faith in both English and Spanish.

4. For the entire family

The new exhibit is especially fun for young children, but families of all ages can take something from the museum experience. Interactive features allow for teaching opportunities within families. For those with a wider age range, older children can visit the "Mi Vida, Mi Historia" exhibit in the next room, which tells beautiful stories of faith from Latin American Saints and is geared toward an older audience. Young children, however, can enjoy the beautiful pictures "Mi Vida, Mi Historia" has to offer.

5. It's free

This new Church History Museum exhibit is the LDS equivalent of the Discovery Gateway Museum. They both offer incredible activities and wonderful learning experiences, but admission to the Church History Museum is free.

The Church History Museum is located at 45 N. West Temple in Salt Lake City. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, visit the museum's website.

Brittany Jones lives in Herriman, Utah, with her husband and three boys. She enjoys sharing ideas about family life on her blog http://brittsbroadcast.blogspot.com.

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