By JENNY STATHIS
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Sunday School organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an exhibit is on display at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City.
Planned by the Sunday School Presidency and General Board, the exhibit is open daily in the foyer of the museum, 45 N. West Temple Street.
“This is the kick off for the culmination of the anniversary,” said Media Relations Director Don LeFevre.
The exhibit features the Sunday School “Centennial Box” of 1949, which will be opened at the April 1999 General Conference to reveal its contents. The box was sealed 49 years ago during the Sunday School centennial observance.
“We’ve put it on display now to create interest in the ceremonial opening in April,” said museum manager of operations Steve Olsen.
“Back in 1949, the Sunday School presidency created a box made out of wood brought back from various countries by missionaries,” said Marg Conder, curator of the exhibit.
The box is thought to contain lesson manuals and other teaching materials from half a century ago. Besides the box, the exhibit features a display of sacrament trays, roll books, music, teaching aids and flannel boards from 150 years ago to the present. In addition, a bas relief sculpture by Abard Fairbanks and a painting by Arnold Frieberg are on display.
“The early visual aids commissioned for Sunday School help us to reminisce as well as celebrate the legacy,” Olsen said.
An eight-minute film from 1949 is also being shown in the foyer. The film features the opening of a box with materials in it from 100 years ago. It is being shown to help build interest in the April opening of the box on display.
After the box is opened in April, the contents of another box will be filled with present day Sunday School materials to be opened in 50 years.
The exhibit will temporarily give way to Christmas displays after November 15. It will be reinstalled after the season for the 150th anniversary year.
“All Latter-day Saints go to Sunday School, and many have been going for many years. This is a great opportunity for everyone to jog their memory. There’s a lot of history in this exhibit,” Conder said.