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'Treasures of the Collection' focuses on Church cultural celebrations

Church History Library beckons conference visitors

Accordingly, we have had observances, festivals and customs over the years. Some, like the annual Old Folks Day, road shows and Gold and Green Balls have slipped into antiquity. Some are carried forward to this day, such as the annual Days of '47 celebration in Salt Lake City. Some are one-time but memorable events such as Church involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964 and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Thus, the focus of this year's "Treasures of the Collection" display at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City is the Church's cultural celebrations.

By far the largest and most extensive of the annual "Treasures" exhibits thus far, the exhibit is featured in the main floor public area of the Church History Library, which was dedicated in 2009 at 15 East North Temple to house the Church's extensive historical archives.

Included in the display are a dozen separate exhibits covering in turn these aspects of Latter-day Saint culture: celebrations, balls and festivals, youth organizations' activities, the Church exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair, the annual Pioneer Day observance in Salt Lake City, the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York, missionary sports, Church basketball, Church softball, LDS involvement in the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, LDS involvement in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and the Church's cultural participation in the 2002 games.

On shelves surrounding the exhibits are pages of the Church News and other Church publications covering celebrations over the years.

Among notable items in the exhibits is a photograph of the surviving 1847 pioneers taken at the Pioneer Jubilee in 1897, and photographs of the All-Church Dance Festivals held at the University of Utah Stadium in the 1950s and 1960s.

Treasures of the Collection exhibit at the Church History Library, Spring 2012 Library exterior with banner publicizing exhibit.
Treasures of the Collection exhibit at the Church History Library, Spring 2012 Library exterior with banner publicizing exhibit. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd

Visitors may view actual examples of the "bandlos" that Primary girls wore in the 1950s and 1960s, on which they would glue plastic emblems as they made achievements in Primary. (Boys wore bandlos too, though none are on display in this exhibit.)

Of particular interest is President Brigham Young's journal, open to the entry of July 24, 1847, where he records his first entry into the Salt Lake Valley with the Mormon Pioneers. In impeccable handwriting, the journal records: "I started early this morning and after crossing Emigration creek eighteen times emerged from the kanyon. Encamped with the main body at 2 p.m. About noon, the five acre potatoe patch was plowed when the brethren commenced planting their seed potatoes. At five, a light shower accompanied by thunder and stiff breeze."

Photo of the surviving 1847 pioneers taken at the Pioneer Jubilee in 1897.
Photo of the surviving 1847 pioneers taken at the Pioneer Jubilee in 1897. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd

A nearby exhibit item is the Journal History of the Church entry of July 24, 1849, the first time Pioneer Day festivities were recorded.

The "Treasures of the Collection" display will be available to visitors through April 7.

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Pioneer Jubilee program, 1897
Pioneer Jubilee program, 1897 Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Photo of Old Folks Day excursion, American Fork, 1903. Charles R. Savage, founder of Old Folks Day,is seen in this photo wearing a hat, seated to the right of the tree.
Photo of Old Folks Day excursion, American Fork, 1903. Charles R. Savage, founder of Old Folks Day,is seen in this photo wearing a hat, seated to the right of the tree. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Photo of All-Church Dance Festival at University of Utah stadium, 1951.
Photo of All-Church Dance Festival at University of Utah stadium, 1951. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Primary girl's bandlos circa 1960 and 1955.
Primary girl's bandlos circa 1960 and 1955. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
In addition to archival items, "Treasures of the Collection" display includes copies of the Church News and other Church publications telling about cultural celebrations and observances that have occurred over the years.
In addition to archival items, "Treasures of the Collection" display includes copies of the Church News and other Church publications telling about cultural celebrations and observances that have occurred over the years. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Souvenir Book of Mormon with a special dust jacket for distribution at New York World's Fair in 1964
Souvenir Book of Mormon with a special dust jacket for distribution at New York World's Fair in 1964 Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Press package from the 1965 Hill Cumorah Pageant.
Press package from the 1965 Hill Cumorah Pageant. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Journal History of the  Church, July 24, 1849, the first time the festivities were recorded commemorating Pioneer Day.
Journal History of the Church, July 24, 1849, the first time the festivities were recorded commemorating Pioneer Day. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Days of '47 Parade, 1961
Days of '47 Parade, 1961 Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
 Sheet music of theme song from 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City , signed by composer John Williams.
Sheet music of theme song from 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City , signed by composer John Williams. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Costume from Church cultural celebration held in connection with 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Costume from Church cultural celebration held in connection with 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd
Department employees preview exhibit.
Department employees preview exhibit. Photo: Photo by R. Scott Lloyd

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