A new interactive Church History Museum exhibit called Temples Dot the Earth: Building the House of the Lord is now open to the public. The display, primarily designed for children ages 1–11, offers families an interactive experience to discover the purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temples, which are located around the world.
The exhibit provides several hands-on experiences through which families can explore the exterior and interior of temples, including a replica of a temple’s outer wall, ordinance rooms and a full-sized baptistry ox once housed in the Frankfurt Germany Temple.
“Museums are a great idea because … you can learn about things. It’s so much easier to talk about things when you’re here with your kids,” said Chris Robinson, who visited the museum for the first time with his wife and children.
Church History Museum Director Alan Johnson said these interactive activities will help children better understand the meaning of temples before they are old enough to attend.
“The purpose of the Church History Museum is to provide our patrons with opportunities to connect to the growing history of the Church. Children’s exhibits offer unique and engaging ways to do so,” said Johnson.
The activity stations help emphasize the importance of family ordinances, temple design and construction, and the sacrifices that Latter-day Saints around the world make to attend temples when there is not one nearby.
Craig Rohde, Church History Museum educator, said his favorite activity at the exhibit is a wooden train track that demonstrates Brazilian Latter-day Saints traveling over 3,000 miles by boat and bus to attend the São Paulo temple.
The new vibrantly-colored display also helps community members who are not Latter-day Saints with questions about temples and the purpose they serve for Church members.
“We’ve been able to create internal spaces where people can become very familiar with … the beliefs of Latter-day Saints,” said Maryanne Stewart Andrus, the museum exhibit’s team lead.
The exhibition will be open to the public for approximately four years, which is also the amount of time the Salt Lake Temple will be closed for renovation.
“The timing of the opening of this exhibit is indeed fortuitous,” said museum educator and planning team member Ray Halls. “We didn’t realize when we began planning some three years ago that the Salt Lake Temple would be closed for major renovation beginning in 2020. How wonderful it is that this exhibition is open to all during a time when the temple itself is not accessible.”
“We would love to have people come and bring their children [and] bring their grandchildren [to] explore the different ideas expressed in this exhibit,” added Stewart Andrus.
The Church History Museum is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is free.