“Educating in Zion: Our Tradition of Learning and Faith,” the permanent exhibit in the Joseph F. Smith Building Gallery on the Brigham Young University campus, will be open to the public beginning Monday, Aug. 18.
The exhibit will be available during Education Week, Monday through Friday, Aug. 18-22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and until 5 p.m. the remainder of the week.
The BYU campus community is invited to a special viewing of the exhibit at an “employee preview” during the Annual University Conference, Tuesday through Thursday, Aug. 26-28. The exhibit will be open Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m., Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free, and the public is welcome to attend. Regular hours for the exhibit should begin in September and will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, except for holidays and during the university’s Tuesday devotional period from 10:45 a.m. to noon.
From the revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith to the contemporary worldwide educational program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the exhibit tells the story of the Church through education.
“The exhibit explores the rich history of education and educational pursuits of the Church and the founders, faculty and students of BYU,” said C. Terry Warner, the exhibit’s executive director.
“The theme ‘Educationin Zion’ means the perfecting of all our faculties —religious, spiritual and intellectual,” said Jenna Heiner, visitor experience coordinator. “Church history has never been thought about from this unique angle of education.”
Docents will be available to guide visitors through the exhibit’s two major sections:
• “The Glorious Dream of Zion,” including the early years of education in the Midwest and the Mountain West and the Church academy era with the establishment of the Seminaries and Institutes program.
• “The Ascent of Church Education,” featuring Brigham Young Academy and the Maeser years as well as important early BYU administrators.
The experience continues with panels on academic freedom and the right to seek personal revelation, as well as a library of stories about educational pioneers. The story finishes with a contemporary view of worldwide educational institutions in the Church.
“At the beginning, we were just in search of what would be helpful for students, but it soon became clear that we needed to tell the stories of our educational pioneers,” Warner said. “Their stories will inspire our students and visitors as they identify with our education forebears and understand their sacrifices and ingenuity. Their stories tell us who we are.”
The multimedia exhibit includes videos, antiques, facsimiles, photographs and letters thoughtfully displayed in an open space with several conversation areas.
Most of the research for the exhibit was done by students, and the exhibit features artwork primarily created by students, including two large murals, a Chinese tufted rug and a “Christ as the Good Shepherd” sculpture.
Primary and secondary materials came largely from the LDS Church Archives and L. Tom Perry Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library, with other documents from outside sources, including the University of Utah and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
The exhibit will be available for use in university coursework and will include a resource database that will be accessible online. Rotating exhibits, under the direction of the Harold B. Lee Library, will be added in the gallery’s mezzanine.
Sponsored by the BYU Academic Vice President's Office, the exhibit occupies a beautiful, light-drenched space with an overlook on the east end of the building. Maintenance of the exhibit will be supervised by the Lee Library.
For more information, contact Roger Layton at the Lee Library at (801) 422-6687.