SALT LAKE CITY — July 24 celebrations, the Gold and Green Ball, the Hill Cumorah Pageant and other festivals from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be highlighted in the nearly 150 items on display at this spring's "Treasures of the Collection" open house at the LDS Church History Library.
Also showcased will be items from the 1964 New York World's Fair, the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games and the history of church sports, primarily baseball and basketball.
The exhibit, which revolves around cultural events and celebrations, opens March 22 and runs through April 7.
The Treasures of the Collection open house began with the opening of the new Church History Library in 2009. April Williamsen, public programming coordinator for the Church History Department, said the department leadership wanted to showcase some of the items the new building would house. The inaugural event was a success, and the open house has become a semiannual event.
"In fact," Williamsen said, "there has been so much interest in the exhibit that we decided to extend the open house time frame; it used to run for a few days, and this time it will be open more than two weeks."
This year's exhibit theme was chosen by a committee of Church History Library employees including Williamsen. "We always want to showcase something that will be of interest to the public, to people who aren't members of the church and members alike," she said. "This year, as we looked at some of the sports history and dance festival history, we settled on cultural celebrations."
One of Williamsen's favorite parts of the exhibit is the Hill Cumorah Pageant display. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the pageant.
"Many members of the Church have somehow been involved with the pageant," Williamsen said. "People can appreciate and feel the spirit of the powerful message these items convey; it reaches across boundaries and touches all."
One item of particular interest is the journal of a young woman who participated in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. "The spirit of the event comes out in her journal entry," Williamsen said. Photographs, a press package and programs from the pageant are also part of the display.
Each display in the exhibit has been crafted to capture a vignette of LDS Church culture. "I hope this open house will help visitors catch the spirit of heritage," Williamsen said. "I hope they will see how people and events have been honored and celebrated through the years."
She also said the Church History Library does not contain everything regarding church cultural celebrations.
"We're hoping this display will generate interest in donating items to the collection so we can even better show and tell the story of our heritage."
The exhibit will be open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On Saturday, March 24, and Friday, March 30, the exhibit will be open until 9 p.m. On Saturday, March 31, hours are noon to 2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 801-240-2745 or visit history.lds.org/program/treasures-of-the-collection